Whitehall board dubious of fire company request for funds

T he Whitehall Volunteer Fire Co. has asked the town to consider setting aside money for repairs to its ladder truck.

During the monthly Town Council meeting, held last week, Brian Brooks, president of the WVFC, told the board that company spent $8,600 servicing a ladder truck it received from the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Co. last month.

The Whitehall company has $12,000 designated for maintenance each year and the service bill represents a large proportion of that bill.

Brooks asked if the town would consider designating some money to help pay for the bill when it begins the process of renovating the Skenesborough firehouse to make way for the new town offices.

He said they had believed the truck was in excellent shape, but Tyler Fire Equipment, located in Menands, found a number of issues that needed to be addressed, including an over-greased ladder.

The excess grease could attract more dirt which could eventually cause unnecessary wear on the metal and shorten its lifespan.

Although the board didn’t take action on the request, Supervisor George Armstrong said the company was unlikely to receive the money.

“It’s probably not going to happen,” Armstrong said.

He said it was his understanding that the company had recently purchased a new piece of equipment, some kind of off-road vehicle, for $25,000, and that perhaps some of that money should have been allocated for the service bill.

In other matters, councilperson Stephanie Safka asked the board if it would reconsider the shelter to which the town sends stray animals.

The reasoning for the request was two-fold: the town could save money and possibly reduce the number of animals that have to be put down.

The town currently brings stray animals to a Granville veterinarian at a cost of $17.80 per day. After 10 days, the animal is euthanized. But Safka said she located a municipal shelter in Cossayuna that only charges $10 a day and the animals are rarely killed. The town isn’t responsible for paying a boarding fee after the first 10 days.

She said the shelter only had to put down 14 of 108 animals it received last year. An owner of two dogs herself; she said the shelter in Cossayuna is more likely to attract people looking to adopt a dog than a veterinarian’s office.

The town would have to reimburse animal control officer Bob Purtorti Jr. for the additional mileage, but Safka said the town normally sends on average about a dozen stray animals to the shelter each year so they should still realize a savings.

“This would save us money and the dog doesn’t have to get killed,” Safka said.

The board agreed to the change pending a review of the contract, she said.

Putorti wanted to remind people that all dogs in the village or town of Whitehall need to be registered with the town clerk.

Following the meeting, the board entered into executive session to interview candidates for director of the Recreation Center.

Interim director Jack Hoagland, town and village justice Julie Eagan, and John Tywman were the three candidates who were interviewed.

Armstrong said all three are excellent candidates for the position and a decision could be made as early as this week.

The position pays $12,000 a year.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on March 14.

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