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West Carthage Fire Department members shoot down residency bylaw

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WEST CARTHAGE — With the village Board of Trustees opposed to the proposed bylaw, West Carthage Fire Department members voted down a policy to require residency for the chief and first and second assistant chiefs.

During last week’s village board meeting, trustees voiced their opposition to requiring top fire department officers to reside in the fire district coverage area in order for Fire Chief Peter Crump Jr. to maintain his position.

“Anyone in the department should be able to run for chief,” Trustee David Z. Rounds said. “They knew where he lived when he joined the board.”

Mr. Crump previously had said the bylaw was suggested by members who had concerns about having someone outside the fire district deciding how taxpayers’ money is spent.

“You can’t spend money without approval of the (department) board of trustees,” Mayor Scott M. Burto said.

With the backing of all of the trustees, the mayor told the chief that if brought before the board, the residency bylaw would not be accepted.

During the fire department meeting also held last Monday, the residency bylaw was voted down “by quite a margin,” Mr. Crump said.

Fire Department trustees also were asked to consider allowing alcohol sales at the fire department during the upcoming fire convention set for June 6 and 7. The chief requested the sale of alcohol during the Friday evening gathering, which he said was similar to a chief’s dinner at which the board previously has approved alcohol. Plans for Saturday evening of the convention include a band performance at which the department would like to sell draft beer.

Mr. Crump told the board the area around the beer truck would be cordoned off and would be controlled by fire department members.

“I don’t expect any problem,” Mr. Crump said.

The board, however, did have objections to holding the dance at the fire station, with concerns about parking.

“I don’t want people to get all snockered and have a free-for-all,” Mr. Rounds said.

“That would be an issue no matter where we hold it,” the fire chief said.

Mr. Crump said the evening’s festivities also would include fireworks “down by the river.”

“I’m concerned about the congestion here,” Trustee Scott J. Sullivan said, referring to the High Street area around the fire station. “It’s all contained down by South Main with the fireworks and games — the best place is down there.”

Mr. Sullivan also suggested the convention committee look into renting a tent to protect the band.

The village board also agreed to contribute to the free Christmas dinnerf the fire department’s will provide Dec. 21. The village will give $250 plus a bonus $50 gift certificate received from Price Chopper when purchasing other gift cards.

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