Valley Viewpoints: Paying twice

by Rodney Delong, Granby

I would like to share a concern regarding the use (or misuse) of taxpayer dollars when it comes to snow removal at my local fire station.

Each year, Cody Fire Commissioners Les Johnson, Dave Pittsley, Doug Wolford, Richard Allen and Morris Sorbello (also an Oswego County Legislator) bid and contract out a snow removal contract for the two Cody fire stations.

Included in this contract is “prompt snow removal and ice control” defined as snow removal when there is three inches of accumulation, as well as shoveling the doors and salting.

My concern is not the awarding of the contract, it is that at least once per year and quite often more frequently, the fire commissioners request the Town of Granby come and salt the parking lot at the fire stations. I would expect that the statement “prompt snow removal and ice control” would somehow include salting the parking lot.

The property tax bill that I pay includes a portion for fire taxes, which includes among other items the planned costs for snow plowing.

As a part of that same property tax bill, I pay the Town of Granby to plow and sand/salt the road that I live on.

When the town salts the fire stations, I am paying for the same service twice. I have paid the Cody Fire District to have the lot salted as a part of their plowing contract and then I am paying for this service again as a part of my town taxes, which includes the salaries/wages of the town worker who is running the salting truck and the actual cost of the salt. If we continue to do this, it increases our town taxes to cover the additional hours/salt and yet we have already paid for this once as a part of the fire.

I have brought this to the Granby Town Supervisor Ed Williamson, who told me that he has no control over what Cody Fire District uses their money for. This is an accurate statement, but Mr. Williamson does have some control over what the town uses their money for.

Is the Cody Fire District going to reimburse the town for these costs? If not, the town budget could be depleted before it really should resulting in an increase in town taxes next year to cover the additional costs.

I personally feel that we pay enough in taxes that we really shouldn’t have to pay anyone for the same service twice. I would expect that this issue could be better handled should the fire district control their contractors instead of having the town take care of what the fire district doesn’t want to address.

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