Fire squad seeks dollars

Eagle Matt-Lee Captain Bill Lewis said he had approached members of the Union Fire Company to gauge their interest in pursuing the awards program.

"We did speak with Union, and they said they're not looking to move forward with this," said Lewis.

In 1998, the New York State Legislature opened the door for municipalities to implement service awards programs to boost declining memberships in fire service volunteers. But the village squads remain robust, with as many as 133 active emergency response volunteers.

Trustee Dick Duffy weighed in with his opinion as a board member and a firefighter with Union Fire Company.

"I'm a volunteer, and I don't expect to be paid in any way," said Duffy.

The board advised members of Eagle Matt-Lee to try again to approach Union Fire Company squads for a united front.

"At the end of the day, it's not a matter of if they deserve a service award, it's a matter of how much the taxpayers can bear," said Romano. "We're a small village with many aging residents, and we're landlocked, so there's no new development happening to increase the tax base. We're all doing the best we can with what we have.""

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