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Pelham Proposes Lower Fire Dept. Costs in 2012-13 Budget

PELHAM, N.Y. – The village fire department is expecting to spend less during the next fiscal year, as proposed in the Pelham 2012-13 budget. Pelham officials discussed Wednesday the details of the fire department’s proposed budget, which totals $1,816,269 – down from the current fiscal year’s $1,828,440.  The village plans to save $4,000 by adding a fifth lieutenant to the department, as a means of avoiding overtime hours.

“The result of those savings will show up in overtime,” said Pelham Fire Chief Bill Stone, who started the meeting by saying that while “we’re all faced with monetary problems,” the fire department is making great strides.

Village Administrator Robert Yamuder said firefighter Robert Benkwitt will be promoted to lieutenant, in which he will be paid “regular paid time.”

“Now we have five lieutenants,” said Yamuder. “We used to have four and it accrued overtime because we always had to fit someone in there on overtime. So now we made him a fifth lieutenant, so he gets regular paid time.”

Stone said he is also working with the men to change their vacation schedules, which will help the village save money.

Still, the village will be forced to pay more in the current fiscal year for several expenses, including hydrant rental fees, fire department training and building maintenance, which will increase from $6,000 to $9,000.

United Water, out of New Rochelle, raised its hydrant rental fees from $75,000 to $95,000 – an increase of 26.7 percent, according to Yamuder.

The village administrator said the only good thing that came out of this was that the public service commission told United Water to give Pelham a “five-year look at it, so that they’re not going to just raise the rates. Now, there’s a scheduled rate increase over the next five years,” he said.

Stone said his members of his department have made “great strides” as a result of their personal  training, in addition to training with Westchester County and New York City. Training costs proposed in the 2012-13 budget are $9,000, up from $4,500.

The department, which consists of the part-time chief and 16 full-time firefighters, responded to 845 total calls in 2011.

The 2012-13 proposed budget shows a 3.035 percent increase from the 2011-12 adopted spending plan, totaling $12,855,122.

The next budget work sessions will be held Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

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