Members of one of the two fire squads in the village of Ballston Spa are seeking a volunteer awards compensation plan from the village.
At their board meeting Monday night, Jan. 28, trustees heard a presentation by consultant Ed Holohan, who is representing firemen from the Eagle Matt-Lee Company in their request for the program.
This is something the volunteers certainly deserve, said Holohan.
A service awards program is run on a points system, with volunteers accumulating points throughout the year for attending drills, going to fires, getting additional training and certification, and other options. The awards are also based on tenure, and are monetary, although neither the consultant nor the board had any estimate of what the program would cost taxpayers.
Village Mayor John Romano was clear that the board wholly supported the work of the volunteers but questioned both the cost and why the village's other fire department, Union Fire Company, was not coming forward with Eagle Matt-Lee with the request.
"We would rather see the fire department as a whole looking into this, so that you don't put the village board in the middle," said Romano.
Romano also noted the village provides fire protection services to two outside users, the towns of Ballston and Milton, which could not be expected to bear the brunt of the awards program cost. He also said the fire department was in need of several new emergency response vehicles, for which the board is already scrambling to come up with funds to pay for.
"The board recognizes their dedication and is a strong advocate supporting the volunteers, and one of those ways is to provide the best possible equipment for them," said Romano. "Not only are discussions under way for the department to get new vehicles, but the last high-cost equipment we bought was a ladder truck for $750,000."