"For me, the issue isn't political. It was always about what the people of the district wanted. I believe that we cannot sacrifice safety for a few dollars of possible savings. When you add up the difference in costs, we're only talking $100 to $200 per year, per house. When you factor the homeowner's premium differential that comes down to about a $50 difference per year for an average home. We really have to ask ourselves, 'Is it worth it?' I don't take issue with the volunteers' service; they have great response times, too. But, geographically, Scotia is just closer to most of the residents, and clearly most residents want to keep Scotia," said Koetzle.
Other members of the Town Board, including Mark A. Quinn, said there needs to be a permanent solution to the issue.
"I'm in favor of Scotia Fire Department providing coverage under a longer-term contract with cost increases indexed to the Consumer Price Index. I also believe we should appoint a board of commissioners from within the fire district to better represent their interests. We, the Town Board, don't have the subject matter expertise nor the vested interest in fire protection for District 4," said Quinn.
In other village news, the village board voted unanimously last week to adopt a policy that the mayor and trustees are no longer eligible for health or dental insurance through the village. Newly elected trustee Andrew Kohout made a motion for the proposal, which he promised he would do during his campaign.
"This was something that Tom Gifford and I really wanted to follow up on. This is considered a part-time position, and I have never had a part-time job offer benefits before. We wanted to make good on a problem that made sense for the village," said Kohout.
Kohout added that previous board members have used the health benefits at a cost of close to $8,000 a year. He also said that the resolution includes not offering a buyout on benefits or increasing salaries to make up the insurance costs.
"The election is over, and it's not so much about politics as it is trying to be honest," said Kohout.