Village Board approves purchase of new fire safety equipment, appoints new Code Enforcement Officer

firefighters fight a fire
Firefighters using the Scott Air Packs.

The Village Board of Trustees has authorized the purchase of 14 new fire packs, oxygen tanks and accessories for the Newland-Wood Fire Company No. 59 to replace existing safety equipment that has become outdated and in disrepair.

The village accepted the low quote of $83,570 from Municipal Emergency Services (MES) for new Scott Air Packs and oxygen bottles that are used in fighting fires. The air packs the department uses now are an aging, low-pressure brand that are difficult to find parts for today. The accompanying oxygen bottles have a 15-year life span and more than half the bottles in inventory will expire in 2017.

The packs are used routinely by the department for fighting everything from structure and car fires to responding to carbon monoxide calls.

Switching to the Scott Air Packs will benefit the department in many ways, First Assistant Chief Toni Conti told the board.

“High pressure is what most companies are using now a days,” Conti said, “with low pressure becoming obsolete. Most of our neighboring departments we receive or give mutual aid to are using the Scott packs so they would be more compatible, and the repairs are much cheaper.”

The department has been wanting to replace the air packs and bottles since the fall of 2014 when Fire Chief Jeff Mahar first approached the Village Board about applying for a federal grant to fund them. That grant attempt was unsuccessful.

The department is considering apply for another grant for the same purpose this year, and if it is awarded this time, they will use the grant funds to replenish their budget.

In other business, the Board accepted the resignation of village Code Enforcement Officer Lawrence Allen effective July 1, and appointed Stephen Streeter of VanNess Road to the position. Streeter will begin June 1 as Assistant CEO and assume the part-time CEO position officially on July 1 when Allen retires. Allen has been village CEO since February, 2013.

The Code Enforcement Officer is responsible for making sure residents are in compliance with sections of the village municipal code, ordinances and resolutions in such areas a planning, zoning, community nuisance, property maintenance, housing, signs, and related areas.

Streeter has been the owner of Top Notch Construction Management Inc. in Stillwater, a small residential construction firm, since 2005.

In other business on May 17,

  • The Village Board held a public hearing then voted 4-1 (Trustee Judith Wood-Shaw opposed) to increase the franchise tax residents pay on their Time Warner cable and Internet service bills from 3% to 5% as part of a new 15-year franchise agreement with the company. Mayor Rick Nelson said most surrounding municipalities in Saratoga County such as the Town of Stillwater, Clifton Park, Town of Saratoga, and others have or will be going the same route. The 2% increase will generate about $12,000 more annually for the village budget. Time Warner customers are changed the 5% fee on the total cost of their cable bill each month and that money is passed on by Time Warner to the municipalities in which they live quarterly. The village made about $19,000 from the cable franchise tax this fiscal year.
  • Representatives from Energy Next, Inc. made a presentation to the board asking Trustees to consider locking into a fix rate for the village’s NYSEG energy costs to protect the village from “price spikes in the (energy) market.” Energy costs are at a 17-year low so it’s a good time to lock into a fixed rate, Energy Next said. After some discussion, others believe using a variable rate is a better way to go. Mayor Nelson said the board would take some time to consider it.
  • Trustee Wood-Shaw told the Board that following the success of the village/town garage sale earlier this month, many residents have approached her about occasionally setting up a farmer’s market in the village to coincide with larger events such as the town concert series. She also expressed her interest in moving the playground equipment on the American Legion land closer to the ball fields so it will get more use and creating a dog park where the equipment is now located. She plans on looking into available grant money to make that happen.
  • Mayor Nelson said the security cameras have arrived and will be installed at the newly renovated Major Dickinson Children’s Playground.