Fredonia police, fire budgets see major capital cuts

Several large capital items were cut from the Fredonia fire and police department budgets at a workshop Monday.

According to Lt. Randy Butts from the Fredonia Fire Department, $695,150 was cut from its original proposal, a majority of which was $500,000 for a tanker truck.

“None of that was fat. Those costs will just be deferred for a year,” he said.

The police department also had some major capital items cut, including a patrol vehicle for $35,000 and a message board trailer for $13,000.

Each department went through its budget line by line.

The fire department had modest decreases in its personnel, gas and maintenance and equipment and moderate increases in contractual and extra time. It was noted that personnel would be steady at eight full-timers, two part-timers, and around 120 volunteers.

Although the fire department cut the tanker truck as well as a fire whistle for $25,000 and another expense for $13,000, there were still several big ticket purchases remaining in the budget. These included a new fire engine for $500,000, 10 sets of turnout gear for $25,000, $25,000 for apparatus repair and $12,000 for 15 SCBA bottles.

Also included was $18,000 for a new ambulance cot, which is half the total price, to be split with the volunteer fire department.

“We are one of the last fire departments using an old cot,” First Assistant Chief Kurt Maytum said. He added that this will also help prevent back injuries for firefighters.

Butts recommended eliminating $25,000 from the budget for engineering of building repairs.

“The trustees can do what they want with this but we recommend you get the cost of repairs. We just don’t want anymore engineering studies that go no where,” he said.

He explained the stucco placed on the fire hall in 1979 was not the right kind for the weather, has absorbed moisture and may have damaged the steel studdings of the building.

The trustees decided to keep the item in the budget.

New revenues for the fire department were also discussed from the village rescue going to a paid service.

Butts said he has heard many figures from third-party billers on how much the village could make from the move but cautioned that the village should be conservative in the first year.

“We can set this up for failure or we can set this up to succeed. … The first year is an experiment. … We want to be conservative with our estimates and then if we surpass them then that is better than not meeting them,” he said.

Maytum said the licensing for Medicare and Medicaid will take several months and recommended the board hire the biller to get the licensing in place before June 1, when the 2014-2015 budget come into effect.

Police Chief Brad Meyers presented a budget with very few increases from the 2013-2014 budget year.

However, he did discuss a problem with the computers which may lead to a large expense in the 2014-2015 budget.

He explained many of the computers, as well as the printer, camera recorder and inkless finger print machine, operate on Windows XP-based systems. He said XP will be phased out and funding for most of these items is included in the budget. He said the inkless finger print machine costs about $17,000, but Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace is hoping to secure a grant for the machines.

Included in the capital police budget was $10,000 to remodel the dispatch area to make it more private. Meyers said if the grant does not come through, he will have to use the $10,000 and some money from supplies and equipment to replace it.

He also recommended the village get rid of the three flip cellphones it has on a plan and trade them in for one smart phone with a data package. He said many law enforcement activities are connected to apps and photo sharing which can only be done on a smart phone.

Meyers said he was not upset about the board eliminating the patrol vehicle purchase, but he could not guarantee that the departments older vehicles, a 2010 and 2011, would last through the year and recommended the village add some extra money to the maintenance budget.

The board ended the workshop by entering into executive session to discuss police personnel.

The regular meeting is scheduled for April 14.