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Boston Town Board approves contracts for fire departments

WHAT DOES IT COST? — Pictured is a pie charts showing the breakdown of fire district expenses in Boston. Submitted by Matt Sargeant.
BOSTON — After a one-month hiatus, the Boston Town Board members convened to hold a meeting that was highlighted by the approval of the latest fire protection contracts. The contracts were the result of four meetings of negotiations, leaving the board members involved “very pleased.” All three fire companies in town (North Boston, Patchin and Boston) will receive $160,100 in both 2014 and 2015, according to the new contract.

A public hearing was held to allow members of the public to voice their opinions, but no one spoke up.

The three fire companies will now take the contracts back for voting by their members, after meetings with respective executive staff. “[The contracts] are now signed by us,” said Councilman Jay Boardway. “They will be signed, we’ve been assured, by the chiefs and presidents of the companies and will be returned to us, so the fire issue is now resolved for the next two years.”

Upon the approval of the contracts, Supervisor Martin Ballowe said that the money collected in taxes is “well spent. It’s watched over, every penny and how we spend it. Myself and Councilman Boardway took ... an effort to meet with the fire departments. The negotiations really went well . It was nice to sit down and go through what their needs are, what the town can afford, what the future holds for the fire departments, as what their goals are to the town or what they’re looking for.

IT\'S ABOUT THE PRICE TAG — Pictured is a pie chart showing the total town taxes in Boston.
He said that he was pleased with the negotiations and appreciated the fire company representatives’ taking the time to be involved in the process. “I know it’s a process for them,” he said. “I know sometimes they’re not understanding the numbers that we constantly look at day-to-day, where their budgets come from that we can provide for them, the money that the town can provide to them.”

Boardway said, “These were all very productive meetings and these were meetings that needed to happen, to kind of bang out the issues with the contract.”

“The negotiations went smooth,” Ballowe said. “It was definitely enjoyable. You try to learn what’s going on with each company, so again, thank them for that.”

In other board matters:
– Correspondence from other municipalities was received and a resolution was carried, regarding snowplowing and deicing services. The towns beside Boston that were involved included Collins, Amherst, Sardina, Orchard Park, Alden, Concord, Marilla, Colden and West Seneca. The board resolved to call “on the Erie County executive and the Erie County Legislature to help resolve the issue between the Erie County Department of Public Works and the 25 towns within the county of Erie, with regards to snow removal and deicing of county roads within the towns that is fair and equitable to all parties.”

Boardway said, “What is going on in Erie County Hall is politics, pure and simple. The county executive is picking and choosing which communities are getting his money for these services and picking and choosing to give our highway superintendents a hard time. [We] can’t afford to mess around with our roads and our plowing and our deicing, when it comes wintertime here. We know wintertime comes quickly; it comes fast. Sometimes we have to wait 4 hours for plows to come back.” He called the current county snowplowing plan “ridiculous” and added that “anything we can do to support our highway superintendents as a group, in particular [Highway Superintendent Robert] Telaak ... we need to do just that.”

The current contract expires Aug. 13. Telaak reported that the towns are asking for 5 percent. “I’d be happy to settle this and get 3 percent,” he said. “The price of salt has really stabilized [and] the price of fuel has stabilized, so I think 3 percent would be a fair rate.”

– Boston Valley Elementary School Principal Jim Martinez said, “With the support of the community at large, parents and the staff members here, Boston Valley now has a community garden.”

He added that, for the first time, Boston Valley was No. 1 in the Hamburg School District in fourth grade math and English language arts and in fifth grade math, out of three counties, “those teachers, parents and students were No. 2 and the only thing ahead of them was City Honor’s School.”

– Martinez also spoke about a recent accident in front of the school. “A Jeep rolled over in front of Boston Valley and the young man has a severe arm injury. But they forgot to say on the news that it was a community of good Samaritans. I saw a parent from Boston Valley ... start an IV on this kid’s arm. I saw two young people when I worked at the high school get into his ditch and went through an EMT program ... and help save this kid’s life.” In addition, a group from Boston Emergency Squad were on the scene. “You have a good Samaritan community and there was a young man there who was very, very lucky that you have a community like this,” he said. “I am very privileged to work here.”

– Telaak suggested that the town put the county on notice, concerning local road conditions. “Just about every county road in this town has got a lot of problems,” he said, citing such examples as “trees that are falling into the street” and “shoulders that have drop-offs on the road.”

“The principal was in here tonight talking about the accident that happened in front of the school on Back Creek Road, which is a county road,” Telaak continued. “There’s a nasty drop off on the side of the road where the blacktop’s all deteriorated and it needs to be repaved. The Jeep got off on the side of the road; he overcompensated, crossed over, hit the guardrails and flipped over – very dangerous, and today they still have done nothing there.

“There’s been a pothole on the shoulder of the road on West Tillen, which is a county road, all summer,” Telaak said. “A few weeks ago a motorcycle hit it and crashed and got into an accident and today, it’s still not fixed. The shoulders of the road are very dangerous and they need to be fixed and I don’t see anything being done on any road in this town other than a little ditching here and there . Backcreek Road has potholes on the side of the shoulders all over the place and ... there’s nothing being done.

“The county got $1.3 million increase in their CHIPS funding this year to fix roads,” he added. “That’s above and beyond the $12 million they used to get; $1.3 million increase and they’re doing no road work, at least in our town.”

– Town Historian Keith Kaszubik reported that he has reduced his one-person town department by 50 percent for 2014, from $1,000 to $500. “The office of historian is a town department, albeit a one person department, with its own budget. The Boston Historical Society is a private corporation with their own budget. I’m happy to report that I have reduced my department’s budget by 50 percent for 2014 from $1,000 to $500. For 2013, I expect to use less than $200 for the entire year,” he said. He cut his expenses by “utilizing the supervisor’s newspaper subscriptions for the town scrapbook of history, rather than using my budget for a historian’s subscription,” combining trips and “cancelling membership in certain historical organizations, when it was more cost effective to take advantage of their services on an as-need basis. I sincerely believe in the philosophy of doing more with less.”

– The Boston Historical Society will be holding a potluck dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The theme is “In the spirit of things.”

– The board scheduled a public hearing for the annual Community Development Block Grant for 7:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

– Councilman Gary Vara recommended that the town award the bid for removing, putting down stone and blacktopping the area for the end of the tennis courts to the fence to Capozzi Paving and Concrete. That bid was for $12,500.

– Based on the recommendations of Town Engineer Jim Hannon and Councilman Jeff Genzel, the board awarded Highland Acres the bid for a water and sewer line for the North Boston Park. The bid was for $23,980 and was unanimously carried.

– The board agreed to send Telaak to the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways’ 84th annual Fall Conference in Lake Placid, from Sept. 17 – 19. “It’s a very reasonable request,” Boardway said. “It’s also necessary for continued education and for our highway superintendent, to keep up with the latest innovations and what’s going on across the state.”

The next town board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at the Boston Town Hall.

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