2013-04-10 / Civics and Politics

Garrison Fire Dept. on Hot Seat

By Dennis Mazzuca

Garrison resident Joe Regele, a frequent critic of GVFD spending, speaks before the Philipstown Board last week. 
Dennis Mazzuca Garrison resident Joe Regele, a frequent critic of GVFD spending, speaks before the Philipstown Board last week. Dennis Mazzuca The Philipstown Town Board held its monthly meeting Thursday night at Town Hall, and the session included contentious discussions over a new bathroom at the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department’s main building.

In many ways, the discussion over the bathroom has become a proxy for debate about the department’s spending generally, and especially its responsiveness to public concerns about its expenses and controls.

Discussion at the Town Board became heated as the topic of the new bathroom being installed at the Garrison department’s Station 2 came up. The Town Board asked to see the budget for the project in writing. This evolved into members of the GVFD believing they are being treated unfairly and not as peers, such as having to come to every monthly meeting when none of the other fire departments do. Some also complained that the board micromanages too much. At one point, representatives went on to state that they would not give the board a budget for the bathroom project.

The Town Board members stepped in and said that they will indeed get the budget, as it is in the contract be- tween the fire department and the town. Town officials also said that the bad relations the fire department is claiming are something they just don’t see, and asked for specific examples. In addition, the contract the town has with the GVFD is different from all the other fire departments; it has a different jurisdiction and is not a fire district.

The meeting began with committee reports, including the Recreation Committee talking about their 5K Spring Splat Mudder. They also announced the move of the Depot Theatre’s storage out of Station 1 to the community center so that the station can be of greater use to the fire department. They will also have an early bird registration for their summer camp, which will be until June 18th.

Recycling will not be accepting electronics until further notice.

April 28th is recruitment day for fire departments, as a part of a statewide initiative. All local fire departments will be having open houses, with Garrison additionally having a community day with various activities and entertainment. They hope you will stop by, if not their firehouse, then one of the others. The Garrison Volunteer Fire Department also addressed the issue of the communication issue between themselves and Graymoor with regard to the Planning Board. A letter the department sent in December was not received, and the issue is being worked out.

Public comments raised the question of whether or not the traffic light at the end of Fishkill Road could be changed so that it included a light for coming out of the gas station. Dave Vickery spoke about the opposite, believing that it was better not to have a light coming out of the gas station.

The board announced that Metro-North plans to take down the canopy at the Garrison Station. The board wondered about the historic value of the canopy.

Other announcements included a burning ban until May 15th, and a medical take back day at Putnam Hospital to be held on April 27th.

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