The West Hurley Fire District, whose firehouse on a large Wall Street lot a couple of blocks away from the former West Hurley Elementary School has become a center to its community for pancake breakfasts, firefighter trainings and the occasional town meeting, wants to buy new equipment. Commissioners are looking at spending $94,000 for a used engine ladder truck, plus $51,000 for a used pumper tanker, then selling a tanker for revenue so the amount they’d need to use from an existing reserve fund would end up in the $40,000 or under range, after reimbursement from the existing tanker’s sale.
All of this was originally set to come before fire district voters in a referendum Tuesday, April 24. But then local residents came out for a fire commission meeting at the firehouse on April 16 to voice concerns about why the purchases and sales were needed, especially when the tanker being sold was one year younger than the one being bought used.
The three dozen plus who came out said they’d not been kept informed of any of the commission’s decisions. They wanted to know why decisions had been made. They asked if there were other fire company needs not being discussed.
After the April 16 meeting, and officially dated that same day, Michael Van Valkenburgh, chairman of the fire commissioners of the West Hurley Fire District, sent out a formal cancellation of the April 24 special election on behalf of the fire district’s board. A public hearing on the commission’s proposition for the purchase of two used vehicles and the sale of an existing tanker was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 7.
“We’re going to postpone the vote so that we can do a public informational meeting so everybody can ask their questions and we have facts and figures on paper to give you before that meeting,” commission member Frank Faluotico told those in attendance at the firehouse April 16, according to published reports.
This week, Hurley town supervisor John Perry added that there wasn’t much for him to talk about regarding underlying issues that led to the confrontational April 16 fire commission meeting, or the referendum’s rescheduling.
“Unfortunately, I think some things have not been handled well in terms of getting information out and public voting,” Perry said. “We’ve now offered the fire district our town website to get information out, and one of their constituents has started coming to our town webinars to be able to link a web page to ours and update their information better.”
The West Hurley Fire District is made up of companies that include the Wall Street fire house, which also houses an ambulance squad, plus companies at Spillway and in Glenford.
The West Hurley Fire District’s next fire commission meeting will take place on April 30, according to Perry. The actual referendum vote on the purchase and sale of used equipment was set rescheduled to June 5, almost a month after the upcoming May 7 informational public hearing on what’s being voted on.