It was a tale of two budgets at the Monday, Aug. 22, special meeting of the Turkey Creek Township fire board.
The first budget to be considered was the fire territory’s $1,653,535 operations budget, which sailed through to unanimous approval without a word of discussion.
The equipment replacement fund, however, hit a significant snag and sank with a 2-2 vote.
The provisions at issue in the $513,500 proposed budget were the $180,000 for building improvements and an $18,000 allotment to purchase a training facility.
The larger figure was to be allocated to remediate the exterior brick deterioration on Fire Station 1, complete the second floor renovation of Fire Station 2 and provide for other improvements as needed during the 2017 budget year.
Indicating he was following the recommendation of the Syracuse Town Council, board member Larry Siegel moved to accept the budget without those items because bids and estimates had not been received by the board or council.
Instead, he proposed the funds could be approved as bids were received for each project.
Both the board and town council would have to agree to approve any future appropriations before funds could be released.
Passing the budget as proposed “is not fair to the taxpayers,” said Siegel, also a member of the council. “The council directed us to proceed a certain way.”
Fire Chief Mickey Scott replied the fire territory’s cumulative fund, from which the money would be spent, is a “rate-based” fund so the budget allocations would have no effect on the taxpayers.
All parties agreed the fund had a balance sufficient to handle the expenditures.
Assistant Chief Brian Richcreek said the council presented no objections to the line items when he asked them at the council’s August meeting.
At Monday’s meeting, Scott presented an estimate from a local contractor for the Station 2 renovations, including constructing a stairway, raising the floor over existing ducts and vent pipe, dry walling and painting a 26-foot by 35-foot area, installing a suspended ceiling with fluorescent lights and installing and painting two wood doors.
The contractor guaranteed the $56,892 price until Dec. 1.
Scott said he walked through Station 1 with a contractor, but the contractor was unwilling to give an estimate because of the extent and complications of the work needed.
Siegel and Tom Hoover voted for the motion to approve the lesser budget amount. Board President Kim Cates and Dennis Darr voted against it. The fifth position on the board is vacant.
Board attorney Andrew Grossnickle advised the board consideration of the equipment replacement budget will need to be taken up by the township advisory board, which is mandated by state statute to submit a budget to the county council by Sept. 1.
The remainder of the equipment replacement budget, consisting of $315,500 for the replacement of the department’s 20-year-old tanker, three IV pumps and four outdated SCBA units, garnered no objections or discussion.
The operations budget consists of:
• $1,280,490 for salaries, wages and employee benefits
• $119,500 for office, operating, repair and maintenance and other supplies
• $243,545 for other services and charges, including professional services, insurance, phone and utilities, printing and advertising, equipment repairs and radio maintenance
• $10,000 for new equipment
The board will next meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at Syracuse Town Hall.