Beginning today, the Little Falls Fire Department will no longer provide ambulance service and fire protection to the town of Danube.
“The department will no longer provide coverage to the town of Danube and its residents, unless it is a mutual aid situation and we are called by the primary department to respond with specific equipment or manpower,” said Little Falls Fire Chief Rob Parese during a telephone interview.
Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters said he was notified of the town’s decision not to renew its contact with the Little Falls Fire Department through a letter sent by the town’s attorney.
“It’s a service contract, and without a contract the city can’t provide a service to the town of Danube and its people,” he said during a telephone interview. “We tried everything we could to hash out a contract with the town, but we did not have much luck. It’s unfortunate.”
Danube Town Supervisor Rick Mosher could not be reached for comment Monday.
Peters said the city originally proposed a 7.5 percent increase in its fire contract with the town.
“Personally, I thought the increase was fair, especially when you consider if a firefighter were to get injured or a piece of equipment were to be damaged responding to a call in Danube the town would not be responsible to pay the workers’ compensation or the cost to repair or replace the equipment,” he said. “I didn’t think an additional $30,000 was a lot to ask for, and as was the case with the towns of Little Falls and Manheim, an agreement with a smaller increase could have been negotiated.”
Peters added the loss of the contract will result in a loss of $60,000 in revenue for the city.
“I’m not thrilled about the loss of revenue — it’s going to have a negative effect on the city and fire department budgets,” he said. “How much of an effect will be determined when I meet with the city treasurer and the members of the Common Council’s finance committee to discuss the options.”
“What’s going to be unfortunate is when there is a call in the town of Danube and the department can’t respond, even though it’s ready to,” said Parese. “The department can’t respond to a fire or ambulance call in the town without a contract. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.”
No longer under contract with Little Falls, the town of Danube has a fire protection contract in place with the St. Johnsville Volunteer Fire Department and the village of St. Johnsville.