WAVERLY — The Waverly/Barton Fire District recently held its New York State-mandated Annual Budget Hearing to review the 2020 Operational Budget.
There was no opposition from the public on anything presented and, at the regular fire district business meeting, the proposed budget will be submitted for approval and acceptance by the Board of Commissioners.
Highlights with respect to the proposed budget are as follows:
• The budget included a very slight increase of almost 2 percent.
• The increase equates to an increase of $5,571.
• The increase was attributed to an increase for Physicals and Immunizations of the Firefighters and Replacement Fire Hose which failed during the mandated annual hose testing.
• The Fire District Budget for 2020 will be $284,216.
Specific items in the budget worth noting were $11,500 allocated for Support Equipment, which also includes the replacement hose money.
The majority of the budget monies are allocated for Insurance for Apparatus, Equipment, Buildings and Liability; Repair and Maintenance of Apparatus/Support Equipment; Utilities; Apparatus Fuel; and Reserve Funds for future apparatus and specialized equipment replacement.
The Waverly/Barton Fire District protects the entire Village of Waverly and the majority of the Town of Barton that lies outside the village with the exception of those areas covered under a contract between the Town of Barton and the Lockwood Volunteer Fire Company and the Halsey Valley Fire Company/Tioga Fire District.
Waverly/Barton operates with one Engine, one Rescue Pumper, two Pumper Tankers, two Utility Trucks for Grass/Brush Fires and Motor Vehicle Incidents/Traffic Control and Hazardous Spill Control, and will very soon enhance the fire protection provided with the addition of a 75-foot Ladder Truck.
In recap of the 2019 year to date the Fire District has:
• Responded to 150 emergency calls.
• By end of year will estimate it will have responded to more than 180 calls.
• Invested 1065 hours of firefighters’ time in Interdepartmental Training Drills and New York State Fire Training Certification Classes year to date and will exceed 1100 hours by end of year.
Waverly/Barton is a 100 percent volunteer department with its structure being made of a taxpayer-elected board of five Fire Commissioners and the J. E. Hallett Fire Company No. 1, which currently has 35 Active Firefighters with none of those listed receiving any monetary compensation.
“The residents of the Waverly/Barton Fire District should take comfort in knowing that their fire department has one of the best response times of all departments in Tioga County with most calls having at least one fire officer and at least one apparatus responding within 3 to 4 minutes the initial receipt of an emergency call from Tioga County Dispatch to the firefighters,” a press release said.
“To date, and since the formation of the fire district 26 years ago, those protected by the Waverly/Barton Fire District have never had to rely on a secondary alarm or a mutual aid department response to cover an initial call for them due to a lack of trained personnel or availability of trained personnel. In today’s environment and with reductions that have plagued the volunteer fire service this is quite complimentary of any department the size of Waverly/Barton and something they are quite proud to be able to make such statement,” the press release continued.
At present, the annual Fire Prevention Training is being conducted in the Waverly Central Schools, and the WBFD Firefighters do individual class training with Pre-K, Kindergarten, First and Second Grades. Local daycare locations in the fire district are always encouraged to schedule a firefighter visit and many organizations take advantage of fire station visits during October or other times of the year. It is the endeavor of the firefighters of the WBFD to expand this program and in conjunction with the Waverly School Administration work out details that will allow them to expand their fire programs to include those at the high school level as well in the future and possibly generate an interest in joining and supporting the local fire departments in the areas they live, it is important to understand that not all students reside in the Waverly/Barton Fire District and some reside in areas protected by both the Lockwood Fire Company and the Chemung Fire District.
During this year significant investment has been made and, thanks to good financial planning with the reserve funds, these high-dollar investments will not increase the year to year operating budget. It is no secret that fire apparatus and support equipment are very expensive. Things that will be completed this budget year are:
• The addition of the 2006 E-One 75-foot Ladder Truck.
• Refurbishment of the 2000 Peirce Engine/Pumper.
“Both investments will allow the fire district to get an additional 10 to 15 years out of their current pumper as opposed to purchasing a new pumper and the ladder truck should also provide 10 to 15 years of service. The total cost for both of these improvements will be around $500,000. Just to replace the pumper with a new apparatus would have exceed $500,000 so updating what we currently have and purchasing the preowned ladder truck will reap huge benefits at a very reasonable cost to the taxpayers,” the press release said.
“There are many other things being worked on, and we are extremely pleased with the shared services and support given the Fire District from both the Town of Barton and Village of Waverly and would be amiss to not elaborate on the great work and accomplishments of the Public Safety Committee that was formed early this year. They have explored opportunities and enhanced cross-functional support services in so many areas.”
Representation for this committee come from the Town of Barton, Village of Waverly, Code Enforcement, Waverly School Administration, Waverly Police Dept., Waverly/Barton FD, Tioga County Office of Emergency Services, Town of Barton Highway, Village of Waverly Highway and Village of Waverly Water Department and, as needed, other organizations or departments depending on the event or concern being evaluated.
“The Waverly/Barton Fire District and the J. E. Hallett Fire Company want to make sure that because of the never ending efforts to recruit new membership through the many avenues available to them for recruitment of membership that we clarify something. This is no way is an indicator that we are in short supply of firefighters or trained personnel, this would be very untrue, however is it true that our fire district has not been immune to membership changes and we can never become complacent with respect to membership, especially understanding what it takes to onboard a new person. Things can change quickly and we must take every opportunity to invite anyone that is age 16 or older and has a desire to support their community and neighbors to come and join their local fire service. The advertising for recruitment is not because we are struggling, we are proactive.
Everyone thinks that to help it requires a person to enter a burning or smoke filled structure or go into other types of hazardous environments but there are so many other things that people can join and provide support. If interested, they can call 607-565-4651 and leave their name and number and we will be more than happy to contact them and walk them through the membership process and what opportunities we have that may be of interest to them.
The Waverly/Barton Fire District Commissioners, the J. E. Hallett Fire Company and the Firefighters of the Fire District look forward to closing out 2019 and enter 2020 better prepared to meet the demands of what the future holds for them and wish to thank the communities they serve for their unwavering support.”