Gaines can expect to pay much more for fire protection in 2016

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 February 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – Albion firefighters responded to a chimney fire on Ridge Road in Gaines last March 12 during a blizzard.

ALBION – A deal over 20 years that gave Gaines property owners drastically low fire protection rates will end after 2015. Village of Albion officials said Gaines should expect a much bigger bill for fire protection in the future.

Gaines residents outside the village pay 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed property for fire protection in 2015. That is by far the lowest rate in Orleans County. Most residents in the towns pay fire protection rates over $1 per $1,000 of assessed property.

“It’s going to be a significant increase over what they are paying now,” village attorney John Gavenda said during a joint meeting Monday evening among officials from the village and town of Albion.

Albion town residents pay a $1.23-rate for fire protection from the village’s fire department.

The issue was raised during the town and village meeting because the village would like to continue the fire protection contract with the town of Albion, a contract that has included small increases in recent years.

Gavenda said the contract with Gaines will need to be negotiated this year. Gaines could either contract with Albion or Carlton, or start its own fire department. Whatever the town decides, Gavenda said the town won’t be getting such a bargain price for fire protection.

The village agreed to a 20-year deeply discounted rate in 1995 in exchange for Gaines making the sewer plant on Densmore Street tax exempt. Current village officials don’t think it was a fair deal.

Village Trustee Peter Sidari said the village shouldn’t have had to pay taxes to Gaines for the sewer plant. The town should have made that exempt without pushing for such a low fire protection rate 20 years ago, Sidari said.

The village has many tax exempt sites within its borders from other governments, including the school district, state and county. Sidari said the village doesn’t bill them, and the town should have done the same for the village.

“There’s no secret that they have to pay more,” Gavenda said about Gaines. “They are on a very favorable contract.”

Gavenda said the village expects to soon sit down with Gaines officials to discuss the future fire protection contract.

Here are the fire protection rates for towns for 2015:

Albion, $1.23; Barre, $1.45; Carlton, 75 cents; Clarendon, $1.01; Gaines, 35 cents; Kendall – $1.40 to Kendall and $1.61 to Morton; Murray – $1.57 to Holley and $1.59 to Fancher-Hulberton-Murray; Ridgeway, $1.17; Shelby, $1.49; and Yates, 52 cents to Lyndonville.