Written by Michael Scro, email@example.com Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
When marching orders were given to the Village of Garden City’s various civil service divisions to cut expenses, the fire department complied to the tune of slightly more than a quarter million dollars. During a Tuesday evening village board meeting, Fire Chief William Castoro announced a proposed budget of personnel services of $2.3 million this year, a significant reduction from last year’s adopted budget of $2.6 million.
Castoro said the department is forecasting to spend $2.4 million this year, an estimated $49,000 decrease, due to two unexpected retirements this year, and the reason for a reduction in personnel services.
The fire department’s overtime budget last year was $189,969, which Castoro said the department plans to spend “all of that, but keeping it a little bit under—we’ve implemented changes in staffing while people are on vacation or out sick for the slower times of the fire department.” The proposed overtime budget for next year is $120,000—a $69,969 decrease.
Trustee Richard Silver questioned the overtime figured presented, saying, “with the proposed overtime budget being cut by more than one third, I struggle to see how its realistic to expect that seven or eight months into the year.”
Castoro said the department spent $14,236 last month on overtime, and explained how they’ve moved positions around as a cost savings measure.
“For our day-men positions, we can now fill them in at different locations, we’ll have two day-men that we didn’t have all these previous months and fill in when people are on vacation,” Castoro said.
The fire department has also changed its vacation policy, whereby starting in 2014, personnel decides their vacation time for the entire year. Previously, three people were allowed on vacation every week, and those were all filled overtime—that has now been reduced to two out per week.
Two day-men will fill in for those on vacation, and the department will not pay overtime for them.
Castoro said he feels the overtime budget will reduce by approximately $10,000 per month, however stated “its hard to predict and budget for those out sick or injured, but based on the vacations, sick time, personal time and the coverage we now have that we didn’t have these prior months, we feel we can achieve those savings.”
Deputy Mayor Nicholas Episcopla questioned Castoro on unused contract days off, stating that in 2013-13, $66k was spent, which he said was “well under” the $95k budget. Comparing those numbers to the last year’s $79k budget, Episcopla said “we’re down to about $38k in actual estimated expenses, but this year’s budget we’re budgeting $65k.”
Castoro said that per union contract, each fire fighter gets 96 hours of sick time, and should they not use those hours, they can be diverted to personal time.
“Fire fighters then have the option to get paid for their personal time at the end of the year, or they can bank it towards retirement,” Castoro said. “We basically survey them, and our numbers are budgeted to pay everyone.”
Upon questioning by Trustee Robert Bolebruch on the ordering of fire department items, Castoro said that “originally, we were asked to put in a $20,000 contingency in the budget for large items that break throughout the year, such as boilers and garage doors, and recently, we had to have a roof replaced.”
We had spent over $10,000 on garage doors. We actually put into the capital, put it’s not pertaining to repair. So we have a line item for maintenance of plant for large items,” Castoro added.
Castoro said the fire department estimates spending $44k this year on gas and diesel fuel, and looking to budget $49,750 for next year.
“Every year, its one of those categories that we tend to uncontrollably go over,” Castoro said. “We seem to always have to transfer money to and under-budget, so we’re trying to correct that this year.”
On fire department vehicle repairs, Castoro said they have begun outsourcing to a private company instead of utilizing Garden City’s Public Works, saying, “the fire truck is very technical,” explaining that computer service work is needed. Public works still handles small level repairs for the fire department vehicles.
According to Trustee Donnelly, $2,000 was previously allocated to public works on a monthly basis.
New fire department trucks have a five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, where previous trucks had a one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Castoro mentioned that the fire department keeps their vehicles for “a very long time,” stating that all fire engines are at least 20 years, and ladder trucks are 25 years older or more.
“The downside to that is that as the fleet ages, we spend a lot of money on maintenance,” Castoro said.
Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00
Yard sale announced
The Garden City Bird Sanctuary/Tanners Pond Environmental Center recently announced its annual Fall Benefit Yard Sale. The sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., located outdoors inside the front gate at the sanctuary. Vendors are being sought. A 10 x 17 foot selling area is $45 for the day. (Includes space for selling & space to park one car next to selling space)
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
The Senior Center Expansion and Rehabilitation Project took a major step forward this month when the Garden City Board of Trustees unanimously voted in a special meeting to accept the gift of the model house from the Doubleday Court Development on Franklin Avenue. Project developers, The Engel Burman Group, graciously donated the house to the
Incorporated Village of Garden City. The one-story structure was originally built to serve as a model and sales office for the Franklin Avenue project.
“We are glad to have The Engel Burman Group as part of our village and thank them for this most generous gift. We look forward to providing a state-of-the art facility for our seniors in Garden City,” Mayor John Watras said.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
The Garden City Recreation Department’s Dance Conservatory Program is pleased to announce the start of registration for its upcoming 2014-15 season. Director Felicia Lovaglio, along with Mary Searson and the rest of her staff, are excited to start off another fantastic year. The dance conservatory offers classes to Garden City residents ages 3 through adult which are non-performance based. Age is determined by the start date of the desired class.
Note: Registration is by mail only until Sept. 23. Participants MUST be the required age by the start of the program in order to register.
Each session costs $220 for 22 weeks of class. The schedule and fees for this year’s youth classes are as follows (all classes are 55 minutes long unless otherwise noted):
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Fall Children’s Tennis Classes
Registration for the start of the Fall 2014 Indoor Tennis Program for Children has begun at the Community Park Tennis Center. Walkins and non-resident children attending Garden City Public Schools* will be accepted beginning Sept. 11. Please make checks payable to the “Inc. Village of Garden City." Please note—classes are not considered day care and can not be declared for tax exemption.
* Non resident children who would like to register for the tennis program must prove they attend one of the Garden City Public Schools. Proof must accompany registration. An additional $50 fee will pertain to anyone in this category.
10 weeks of classes—classes will begin Thursday, Sept. 18