Village OKs Fire Expo trip

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Penn Yan Village Board has approved spending $5100 so 15 members of the Penn Yan Fire Department can attend the Harrisburg Fire Expo in Pennsylvania May 20 to May 22.

The fire department chiefs had originally planned to use $8,245 from the annual contract payment from the village to send the fire department members to the event.

Trustee Michael Christensen, who is chairman of the Public Safety committee, said the cost was reduced by using lodging with a rate that is lower than the $107 per person per night rate.

All four fire chiefs, along with 11 members plan to attend the three-day event.

The village board unanimously approved the spending, which comes from the fire department account that has been the focus of a review by the New York State Comptroller’s office following concerns about spending that were raised over a year ago.

At the same time the comptroller’s office has been reviewing the fund and spending, the public safety committee worked with the fire chiefs to establish new spending policies and procedures.

During the discussion of the trip, Mayor Robert Church said that although he’s waiting for the comptroller’s report which will help guide the future management of fire department funds, he wanted to start negotiations for a new rural contract with the fire department and townships of Benton, Milo, Barrington and Jerusalem.

Although the rural fire contracts are referred to as an annual agreement, they have not been re-negotiated or approved for several years. Church noted that the towns have paid their portion of the costs and the fire department has responded to calls, but the contracts are needed.  He appointed Trustees Wayne Davidson and Mike Christensen to work with him on the negotiations.

The board agreed to appropriate $750 to each of the four fire companies (Ellsworth Hose Co., Hunter Hook & Ladder Co., Sheldon Hose Co., and Hydrant Hose Co.) from the rural contract. Each company receives $1,250 annually from the rural contract.

Other business on the village board’s agenda on April 19 included:

• FIRE CHIEFS: The board unanimously approved the slate of officers of the Penn Yan Fire Department for the next two years. Rick Simpson is chief, Jeff Housel is first assistant chief, Mike Clancy is second assistant chief and Rick Retorick is third assistant chief.

• BOAT TRAILER PARKING: The board set the price of the daily boat trailer parking permit for non-Penn Yan residents and non-Penn Yan taxpayers at $5. An annual pass can be purchased for $30. The fees will be effective May 2. Recreation Director Dan Doyle will have specific details about the program.

• INVESTIGATOR’S CAR: The board agreed to purchase a new unmarked police car to replace the investigator’s car, which will be sold on eBay. The new car will cost about $22,000. The current car is 9-years-old and has 80,000 miles on it. Mike Christensen said the money for the new car is in the budget and it makes sense to trade cars in when their value is enough to cover most of the cost of the new car.

• LITTLE LEAGUE PARADE: The board aproved the annual Penn Yan Little League parade for 10 a.m. May 14, starting at the boat launch and proceeding along Keuka Street to Elm Street and the Little Leauge fields.

• FACADE IMPROVEMENT: The board approved an applicaiton from the Masonic Temple for a facade improvement program grant/loan in the amount of $40,000.

• LOADING ZONE: The board requested the village attorney prepare local vehicle and traffic laws to establish a loading zone on Main Street and adjust some parking areas on Seneca Street and Main Street in preparation for the detour that will be in place while the Liberty Street bridge is being replaced. Work will begin on the bridge replacement this fall.

• EXECUTIVE SESSION: The board entered executive session to discuss a legal issue and a grievance.