By Ray Balogh
SYRACUSE — Turkey Creek fire and township advisory boards Monday, July 13, approved sending Fire Chief Mickey Scott’s 2021 proposed operations and equipment replacement budgets for further consideration by the Syracuse Town Council.
Both votes were unanimous, but the township board made one amendment at the behest of board member Bill Dixon before passing the budgets along the process.
Scott requested $32,000 — $2,000 for each of the department’s 16 full-time firefighters — to compensate them for the additional risks associated with the potential of contracting the COVID-19 virus during emergency responses.
The proposal created a new hazard pay line item.
Dixon proposed taking $16,000 from the township’s rainy day fund, which currently has a balance of more than $150,000, to immediately pay the firefighters $1,000 each.
The remaining $16,000 would be included in the 2021 budget, to be disbursed in January.
The board unanimously allocated the rainy day funds.
The 2021 operations budget totaled $2,018,606, a 6% increase from this year’s budget. The hazard pay, increases in insurance premiums, additional anticipated overtime and a 2% raise in payroll accounted for most of the increase.
Scott also asked for $151,000 to replace outdated equipment and provide SCBA regulators for each department personnel.
The regulators were previously sharable, but the department changed policy in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
The boards also approved $20,500 for the purchase of a new mobile radio, headsets, installation and programming for the department’s new fire engine.
Scott presented his monthly report for June:
• During the month the department responded to 22 fire calls and 82 EMS calls. There was $70,250 in property damage from a garage fire and a fire on a wooden deck. The department saved an estimated $220,000 in property.
• Department personnel completed 561 hours of training on subjects including rescue air boat operation, draft and pump practice, hose stretch techniques, ladder placement, survival training, pediatric airway and respirator management and other pediatric medical emergencies.
• Department personnel conducted an inspection of the new fire truck midway through construction at the Sutphen production plant in Dublin, Ohio. “We are scheduled to return to Sutphen on July 29 for the final inspection and pump testing of the fire engine,” said Scott.
• The department’s annual pork chop and chicken barbecue was held Saturday, July 4. “We sold out at around 1 p.m.,” Scott said. “We sold 600 chicken halves, 500 pork chops and 30 dozen ears of corn. We would like to thank the Syracuse and North Webster Kiwanis, Lances NewMarket and, most of all, the public who supported our department by purchasing all of the food.”
Township Trustee Julie Close reported her office was awaiting monthly records from the bank before she could present her June financial report. She said she would present the June and July reports at the board’s August meeting.
The fire board will next meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10, in Syracuse Town Hall. The township advisory board will meet at 7 p.m.