Many donors have responded to Carlton Fire Company

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Firefighters have been raising funds for equipment

Photo by Tom Rivers – Representatives from the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association presented a $1,000 check today to the Carlton Volunteer Fire Company. OONA members are pictured in front, from left: Ed Bellnier, president; Nicole Wilson-McGurn, treasurer; Jeanne Lauta, co-communications director; and Eileen Wuethrich, secretary. Arianna McGurn, McGurn’s daughter, is behind the OONA members. Carlton firefighters include: Dale Niehaus, assistant chief; Andrew Niederhofer, chief; Justin Niederhofer, EMS captain; Chris Standish, second lieutenant; Jim Tabor, president; Kevin Hurley; Tom Yockel, treasurer; Dan Strong; Dick Brackenbury; Bruce London; John Buckland; and Dwayne Tinkous, captain.

CARLTON – The Carlton Fire Company has received $14,000 from nearly 1,000 donors in response to a fund-raising campaign.

The fire company sent out about 1,700 letters to residents, telling them the fire company needed a utility box for a rescue truck and equipment to respond to water-related emergencies and motor vehicle accidents.

The Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association is among the donors to the cause. The group presented fire company leaders with a $1,000 check tonight.

“We’re glad to help out because we need you guys,” OONA President Ed Bellnier told Carlton firefighters.

Carlton has sent out letters the past three years, seeking funds from residents to help supplement the money it gets from the town in a fire protection contract.

Fire company officials tried to boost its contract with the town from about $114,000 to $152,000 for 2014. The Town Board agreed to half of the increase.

That leaves the fire company short for equipment, gear and needed roof and parking lot repairs, said Jim Tabor, fire company president.

Carlton property owners will pay 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed property for fire protection, about half of rate in most towns. Tabor and the fire company wanted to get that rate to 75 cents, but was rebuffed by the Town Board, which agreed to 65 cents for 2014.

“Even if we were at 75 cents we’d still be the lowest in the county,” Tabor said.

Fire company officials worry about the cost of new turnout gear at about $3,000 per firefighter. The company also faces a new roof on the recreation hall on Route 98, and parking lot repairs at the two fire halls on Kent Road and Waterport-Carlton Road.

Tabor said the fire company appreciates the response from the public to the fund-raising campaign.