Skenesborough votes not to dissolve; town move in question

A fter months of careful consideration and internal debate, the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company has decided not to dissolve.

Michael Putorti confirmed late Monday afternoon that members had voted against dissolving but declined further comment because he had resigned his position as chief following the vote, citing his belief that the department should have dissolved and become part of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company.

The decision not to dissolve could have an impact on the town council who was strongly considering moving into the building.

Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon was noncommittal when asked if the fire company’s decision not to dissolve would preclude the town from moving into the building, but did say the town may another option on the table.

He said there may be the potential to move into the building where LaFlamme’s is currently occupied but expects that to be a decision the new administration would make in January.

George Armstong, who is running for the town supervisor’s position, has stated that one of his main goals was to oversee the relocation of the town offices.

SVFC has been exploring the possibility of dissolution since meeting with the Village Board of Trustees in late April and informing them of their intention to look into the matter.

At the time, company president James Putorti said the department was facing financial hardships and that membership was dwindling.

In recent years the department’s main fundraising initiatives-bingo and the annual truck raffle-have fallen off.

It’s unknown if the department has found a way to improve its financial position since they discussed dissolution earlier this spring, but membership has continued to dwindle, with several members moving to the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company.

The town reached an agreement with SVFC to move into the building more than a year but the proposal eventually fell apart because the company’s agreement with the village contained a clause that if they ever dissolved the property would revert to the village.

Earlier this summer, the village voted to nullify that deed if the department dissolved and the town agreed to pay $150,000 to the merged fire companies.

However by voting not to dissolve, the town loses their opportunity to own the building outright.

Gordon said the next step is dependent on the village and whether they would be amenable to a new agreement or would consider revoking Skenesborough’s charter, an option officials on the village board have never openly discussed.  

 

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