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Town of Boston modifies service award points program

Throughout the year, a reoccurring issue at the Town of Boston’s board meetings has been the granting of service award points to the town’s three volunteer fire companies. During the boards final meeting of the calendar year on Wednesday, Dec. 19, Jay Boardway, councilman and deputy supervisor in Martin Ballowe’s absence, reported that modifications were required on the current system of awarding these points. The board unanimously voted in favor of ratifying the modifications.

“This is a modification of the currently-in-place service award program point system,” said Boardway. “We found out through the audits that we had done this past year on the various service award programs that affect the fire service in town that there was something done incorrectly about 10 years ago, which inadvertently awarded too many points to volunteers for responding to certain types of first aid calls that did not involve transporting the patient to the ambulance. So, this simply is a modification of the program to correct this defect and bring it into compliance with New York State law.

“It affects all three fire services in town,” Boardway said, “and points that they’re awarded for their volunteer service – not that we’re every saying that they don’t deserve every single point they get but we were doing something incorrectly according to New York State. We’ve now corrected that and had the opportunity to discuss this, primarily with the president of the Patchin Fire Company, whom this affects the most because they do have a first-responder service in that particular company. But, again, this just brings us in compliance with New York State law.”

Boardway later reported that he attended a “review of a study that was performed on behalf of the three fire companies in town,” on Saturday, Dec. 15, a review he described as “extremely informative.”

The study showed, according to the deputy supervisor, that “the fire service in the town is strong.

“It’s adequate,” Boardway said. “The town is quite well protected with the fire services that we do have . . . . [The fire stations] are adequately funded as well, which was a relief on our part, quite honestly. We were afraid this study had potential to come back and say, ‘The town board is shorting the fire company and has been for years.’ That did not happen; it is a quote that they are ‘adequately funded.’”

In other board matters:

• Boardway reported that the Hamburg School District, as of the afternoon before the board meeting, “is the only school district in Western New York where the teachers and the administrators have not submitted their professional performance review to the state of New York.” Boardway said, “I urge the folks in this room in the Hamburg School District. We got hit with 5.8 percent increases last year on our tax roll. I’m in that district, obviously. Jan. 17 is their deadline to have these professional performance reviews in to New York State for approval or they will lose hundreds of thousands if not over a million dollars in state aid, and, I’m sorry, but that translates into my taxes going up because they don’t want performance reviews or they want to write their own rules for reviews.

“I urge folks to call, call the administrators there, call the different school board members there – all of their names and contact information is on the Hamburg School Board’s website – and express your outrage that this is going on, because this can’t happen . . . . They’re going to lose state aid; it’s going to come out of your pocket.”

• Hannon Engineering recommended via correspondence to the board that the councilmen accept a bid of $36,000 from New Frontier Excavating and Paving, Inc. for the Keller Road Waterline Support structure repairs. The only other bid was made by Fiske and Sons, Inc., and that bid was for $49,000. “After review of the bids, it is our recommendation to accept the low bid of [NFEP],” wrote James Hannon, President of Hannon Engineering.

“Since the project is to be constructed under a municipal cooperation agreement with the town of Eden, the project expenses are to be shared between the two towns as follows: 45.3 percent (by Boston for) $16,308 and 54.7 percent (by Eden for) $19,692.” The Boston board unanimously voted to accept the bid.

• The planning board of Boston moved by unanimous vote to accept the resignation of its member Keith Clauss. “Due to personal difficulties and with great regret, I am resigning from the planning board effective immediately,” said Clauss in a letter to Chairman David Stringfellow of the planning board. “I have truly enjoyed being involved and greatly appreciate the opportunity to be on the planning board. Keep up the good work.” As a result, David Bowen was appointed as a regular member of the planning board. Previously, he had been an alternate.

• In the absence of Ballowe, Boardway gave the supervisor’s report. In the correspondence, Ballowe said, “It’s been a pleasure serving the people of the town of Boston during 2012. It was a very productive and successful year.”

The report highlighted several “government happenings” that involved the tax dollars of the citizens of Boston, including the lowering of the tax rate in both the general fund and the highway fund for three consecutive years now. Other highlights included the saving of $10,000 in the school tax collection system, $18,000 saved in the highway contract in the first year alone and the Christmas lighting’s being covered by donations completely.

The board will reconvene on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm in the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.


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