Lee fire commissioners approve budget just short of $300000

TOWN OF LEE — Approval of the 2021 Lee fire district budget, and details for the annual fire district election in December including candidate filing deadlines, were among topics for the town Board of Fire Commissioners.

Among other items during its meeting Monday night, the board reviewed fire district insurance premium costs for 2021 and approved a snowplowing contract for the Lee Center firehouse.

• A 2021 fire district budget of about $299,169 was approved with little discussion. Just before the vote, board Chairman Tracy Carpenter noted commissioners “had a budget hearing meeting….Now we have to vote to adopt” a final version.

The spending plan has no changes from what was presented at the Oct. 20 public hearing, Carpenter said after this week’s meeting.

The budget expenses primarily include the firehouse and the Lee Center Volunteer Fire Department. They also include a $23,000 contract with the Lake Delta Volunteer Fire Department for coverage of the town’s southeast portion.

Up about $991 from the current 2020 spending plan, the budget is funded by local property taxes. The 2021 tax rate is pending annual updates of town property value assessments. The 2020 rate is $26.10 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, and the 2021 rate may be slightly higher or conceivably might not increase depending on overall town property values as compared to a year ago.

• For the upcoming Dec. 8 fire district election, two of the five total seats on the commissioners board are up for election with terms that begin Jan. 1.

One of the available seats is for a partial one-year term through Dec. 31, 2021, to complete the final year left in the term which had been held by the late Brian Mandryck who passed away last February. The board in April appointed James Mondrick to the seat for the remainder of 2020.

The other available seat is for a full 5-year term through Dec. 31, 2025. It is currently held by William Young, who is nearing the end of his second 5-year term on the board after also serving in a partial two-year term.

The deadline to file a notice of intent to run for one of the board seats is Nov. 18. Notices can be emailed to [email protected]; or mailed to Town of Lee Fire District, P.O. Box 156, Lee Center, N.Y., 13363; or presented directly to fire district secretary Linda Valade.

So far, candidates in the election include Mondrick and Young who both intend to run for the seats they currently hold, said Valade.

The Dec. 8 election will be from 6-9 p.m. at Lee Town Hall, 5808 Stokes-Lee Center Road.

• Basic insurance premium costs for 2021 for the fire district and the Lee Center Volunteer Department will total about $19,640, up slightly from 2020, according to a presentation by William Cole of Gates-Cole Insurance. The coverage is in conjunction with the VFIS company.

The premium to be paid by the fire district is $14,823, while the fire department pays for its premium which is $4,817. Among the fire department’s insured categories are for its bingo hall at the firemen’s field. The department has not conducted its bingo fundraisers since March due to COVID-19, and Cole said the department could save about $1,300 of its premium costs if the bingo coverage is not included. Lee Center Fire Chief Joseph Kieffer said he would check the status of the bingo events.

• The board accepted a $1,425 bid from All Seasons Maintenance LLC for snowplowing at the Lee Center firehouse. The contract is through April 30, 2021, Valade said after the meeting.

All Seasons was the lowest of three bidders. The other two each bid $2,000.

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