September 5, 2006


The Clermont Fire Commissioners held their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 5, 2006.  Present were Supervisor Banks, Commissioner Harned, Commissioner Lent, Commissioner Staats and Commissioner Nolan. Chief Laurence Saulpaugh was absent. Charles Larsen and Robert Desmond were also present.


Supervisor Banks opened the meeting with a salute to the flag. A motion was made by Commissioner Staats, seconded by Commissioner Harned to accept the minutes of the August meeting as submitted.  All in favor.  So carried.


Commissioner Harned read the Chief’s report for August as follows:

#45- 8/1/06 – Standby for Livingston

#46- 8/2/06 – Mutual aid for Red Hook – traffic control

#47- 8/3/06 – Wires down Route 9 and County Route 6

#48- 8/4/06 – Wires down 1528 Route 9

#49- 8/20/06 – Tree and wires down 773 Woods Road

#50- 8/2l/06 – Alarm activation, no fire, 15 Trout Creek Road

#51- 8/24/06 – Mutual aid for Taghkanic barn fire, tanker shuttle


A drill was held on 8/28/06 – jaws demo with new Jaws of Life.


Commissioner Harned has been researching the start of the Town Board as Fire Commissioners with our town attorney and the NYS Association of Towns. In the late twenties (* Correction: In 1929) the Town board (* Correction: Established a Fire District ) ( Delete: appointed themselves as Fire Commissioners) prior to the Fire Company being formed in 1932. (*Correction: 1930) The Fire Commissioners oversee the budget of the Fire District, formulating the budget and submitting it to the Town Board.  In the 1950’s (*Correction: Add – the State encouraged the Towns to hold an election), (* Delete - this could have been changed by holding an election), however, that was never done and now we are only one town of three left in the state where the town board acts as fire commissioners.  In order to remove the Town Board as Fire Commissioners, an election must be held by State law on the 2nd Tuesday in December, which this year would be December 12th.  Any Town resident can run for the offices of Fire Commissioner.  The election would be by ballot, with no mail-ins and no absentee ballots.  A public notice must be published twenty-seven (27) days before but not more than thirty-four days before the election.  Appointment of an elector to oversee the election would have to be made and the voting would be held between 6:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M.  Commissioner Harned would suggest that we hold the special election this December to correct this situation.


Supervisor Banks is in favor of the separation. 

Councilwoman Lent asked what the feelings of the Fire Company are on this separation.  The response was that for the most part they are for it. 



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Councilman Nolan is not totally comfortable about members of the fire company voting for this; possible conflict of interest. ( * Correction:  Add:  because they are officers of fire company)


There was discussion about holding off on a decision until next months meeting.

Charles Larsen stated that most other towns are done this way and fire commissioners are non-political. 

Councilwoman Lent suggested that we move forward with this and not wait until the October meeting, as has been suggested.

Councilman Harned is to check when the Town of Livingston made the change.


Councilwoman Lent made a motion that in the best interest of the Town of Clermont, to move ahead with the separation of the Town Board and Fire Commissioners and hold the special election on the 2nd Tuesday of December 2006.  This motion was seconded by Councilman Harned.  A roll call vote was held as follows:

            Harned – aye                Lent – aye        Staats – nay                  Nolan – nay

            Banks – aye


            Passed 3 to 2                          


Councilman Staats objection is that he would like the public’s input by holding a public hearing before the election.


Judith Neary asked if members of the Town Board could still be Fire Commissioners.  Any resident can run for election as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners.

Councilman Nolan is concerned that taxes will increase.

Councilwoman Lent spoke about the increase in taxes if we ever loose our volunteer firefighters in town and have to go to paid status, you could see budget increases five times what it is now. 


Councilman Nolan brought up the issue of reimbursement for the electric and oil, which has been paid by the town since the beginning of the year.  A check should be coming from the Fire Company to reimburse.  Councilwoman Lent has objections because there were problems with the deeds and the fire department was held up in getting their project started until this summer and it is a small price to pay for the work that the firemen and women do in this community. 


In the lease that was signed between the Town and Fire Company, it is stipulated that the Fire Company pays the electric and fuel.  The lease will be between the Fire commissioners and Fire Company and the attorneys can address this issue in the future.



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A motion was made by Councilwoman Lent, seconded by Councilman Harned to approve fire abstract #9, vouchers #107 - #115, in the amount of $12,152.44.  All in favor.  So carried.


Gregory Fingar added that Fingar Agency is sponsoring an EVOC Course for the Clermont Fire Department. 


George Davis asked if women could apply for membership to the fire department.  Councilman Harned said that they had a woman firefighter but that she went into the service.


A motion was made by Councilwoman Lent, seconded by Councilman Harned to adjourn at 7:30 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,



Mary Helen Shannon

Fire District Secretary