Why Scotia firehouse plan is best

Daily Gazette: Thursday, 27-Feb-2003

On Feb. 12, I spoke at the Scotia village meeting. As a member of the Building Steering Committee, I felt it was important to give accurate information. Unfortunately the Gazette chose to print only two small statements, out of context, giving the impression that a tax increase is of no importance and that the people of Scotia should be thankful to accept the committee's recommendation. This does not accurately reflect my position.

As a senior citizen on a fixed income, any tax increase is of vital importance to me, as to all other taxpayers in the village. The remainder of my statement regarding consolidation of services should also be printed:

(1) Village schools, before consolidation with Glenville schools over 45 years ago, were paid for. When the issue of consolidating village schools with town schools into one centralized district arose, the people of the village were assured that this would save taxpayers money - taxes would not go up. Need I say more, except that the village has not grown, but the town did and still is?

(2) It was suggested that consolidating the village police with the town police, to eliminate remodeling the village police station, would save money. The village has 13 police officers and the town has 26. If the two forces are combined, the village would be paying taxes for 39 or more police officers - and don't forget the town is still growing. (The present town administration raised taxes 49 percent this year.)

(3) It is not local government, nor the Scotia Building Steering Committee, which mandates what fire departments should have or not have, but the state and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

To save money on the Scotia Fire Department, consolidation with the Schenectady Fire Department - or contracting with the city to service the village - was suggested. I wonder what the response time would be coming over the bridge and how this would affect home insurance rates. At present, the village of Scotia receives outstanding service.

What is being presented is not a temporary fix, a Band-Aid, or a pole barn. What is being offered is a building that meets the mandates of state and OSHA and the needs of the village and which will house all equipment in one place. Unlike some buildings, such as the CVS (formerly Rite Aid), the new fire station will fit in with the village's character and be a building the people of Scotia will be proud of.


Beware Glenville's offer to aid Scotia

Daily Gazette: Friday, 31-Jan-2003

I got quite a laugh out of the Jan. 24 newspaper report that [Glenville Supervisor] Clarence Mosher wants to consolidate services with the village of Scotia.

I'm sure village residents are smart enough to see this for the smoke screen it is. Mosher and his regime's poor money management and unsound fiscal practices have completely depleted Glenville's reserves. Now this regime is positively salivating over Scotia's fund balances.

"Consolidation" is just a smoke screen for a money grab by Mosher in a feeble attempt to avoid the additional heavy tax increases that will be necessary next year if Glenville wants to avoid bankruptcy.

I have yet to see "consolidation" save money for anyone. Consolidation of school districts years ago was supposed to save money, but instead ran costs up. The same thing will happen with consolidation of government services.

A much better idea would be for the village to absorb the town. The village has the track record that proves they don't spend taxpayers' hard-earned dollars frivolously. Unfortunately, the cost for a new firehouse will not go down in the future. Scotia's choice is to either pay for a new firehouse now, or send that money to the state in the form of fines for safety violations in the present facility and then still be forced to pay for a new firehouse in the future.


New Scotia firehouse long overdue

Daily Gazette: Saturday, 1-Feb-2003

As a resident of the village, I am appalled that there would be opposition to building a new firehouse in the village. I, for one, am all for it.

If any of you have been into the firehouse as of late, nothing has changed in five, 10 or 20 years. There is not enough room to walk, talk or move. The firehouse is old, in disrepair and not legally accessible to the handicapped. Nor is it safe.

The village has been cited time and time again for these things, and rather than renovate an already decrepit building, the village has chosen the right path: Build a new building.

Right now, in order to get into several of the fire trucks, you must first move another truck onto the apron. Additionally, by moving the building closer to the Western Gateway Bridge, you will create a faster access route for emergency apparatus to Route 50. By having a firehouse within the village, you also maintain reduced homeowners' insurance, which in part is determined by how far you live from the nearest fire station.

I am in favor of cheaper taxes, but not at the expense of a safe neighborhood to live in. For that, I am willing to pay. If a new firehouse stands for as long as the current one has, then my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have a safe community, paid in full by their predecessors.

It is a time for transition, a time for change, and a time for a new fire hall! Wake up, Scotia!


Consolidate with them? No thanks

Daily Gazette: Tuesday, 4-Feb-2003

Regarding the Gazette's editorial Jan. 26, suggesting Scotia consolidate services with Glenville and Schenectady, I politely respond "Thanks, but no thanks." Consolidation would not benefit Scotia or its residents.

Glenville's Town Board depleted the town's cash reserves, and last year they were forced to take out a million-dollar loan to meet daily expenses. The city of Schenectady spent money intended for capital projects on daily expenses and had their credit rating drop. The city was also forced into huge loans to correct the error.

Taxes in Glenville rose this year alone by 49 percent! Taxes in Schenectady soared, too. The Gazette reported these issues, so why its surprising call for consolidation? Bluntly, the fi- nances in Glenville and Schenectady are a mess.

Village of Scotia taxes increased by single digits over each of the past few years, and low single-digit increases at that. Our elected officials handle village funds responsibly. The Department of Public Works cleared streets rapidly during the recent snowstorms. Our Fire and Police departments respond quickly, politely and without controversy.

So, "No thanks" to the call for consolidation. Let's reconsider the issue when Glenville and Schenectady get their books back in order. I don't want the tax hikes those communities groan under. If anything, the Gazette should recommend Scotia as the model for other municipalities to follow.


Scotia must go back to Square 1

Daily Gazette: Tuesday,5-Feb-2003

Residents and taxpayers spoke loud and clear to the mayor and trustees at a public hearing about a proposed $8 million project to rehab offices and build a new fire station.

By an overwhelming majority of speakers, the trustees were told the proposed location of the fire station on Mohawk Avenue between McDonald's and Scotia Diner is absolutely the wrong location. This location should be removed from any further consideration.

By the same token, the mayor and trustees were told the proposed cost is way too much - by millions of dollars. Don't bring back a plan that costs a million less and think the public will approve.

Judging by audience applause for every speaker, those who attended but did not speak appeared to agree with the speakers.

Mayor and trustees, rethink this project with fresh ideas. Neither option presented is satisfactory. Don't make us come out again to reject the same proposals at a few dollars less.

The writer is Building Steering Committee member and Planning Board chairman.

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