The latest "consolidation" under consideration is consolidation of the Oriskany and Whitesboro Village Fire Departments into a Whitestown Fire District which will serve the entire Town of Whitestown outside the Villages of New York Mills and Yorkville (which Villages decided not to participate in the scheme). A list of alleged "pros" and short description of how this scheme would work was recently published in the Rome Sentinel. Some things stand out:
A potential decrease in the fire tax. . .
Equality of fire tax within the joint district — all pay the same fire rate. . . .
The new fire district would be run by five commissioners who are to be appointed by the town and village boards.
No doubt costs will be reduced to residents of the Town who live outside of the Villages. Currently, the Town must negotiate contracts with the Town's Villages (Oriskany, Whitesboro, NYM and Yorkville) for coverage in areas outside the Villages. The Villages, which must maintain sufficient equipment to serve their Town "customer," no doubt ensure that their costs are covered during the negotiation process. These costs not only include equipment, but also transporting equipment and men the longer distances to Town locations relative to covering fires "around the corner" in the Villages. Simply put, the cost to protect spread-out Town territory has to be more per home than the cost in densely developed Villages because greater distances must be traveled. Town residents currently pay these additional costs associated with their service through the rates negotiated with the Villages.
But negotiations with Oriskany and Whitesboro will be eliminated by this plan. If people in Oriskany and Whitesboro will have an "equality of fire tax within the joint district," if "all pay the same fire rate," then . . .
THE VILLAGE RESIDENTS WILL BE PICKING UP THE ADDITIONAL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH SERVICE TO TOWN RESIDENTS.
Voters in Oriskany and Whitesboro, beware. Your fire assets are being "regionalized."