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    Default Board halts payments to Active Hose

    By PAM KOWALIK
    News Niagara Bureau
    3/29/2004

    TOWN OF NIAGARA - Town Board members Sunday said they are suspending payments to the Niagara Active Hose Fire Company - the town's only remaining fire company - because of problems with accounting for money the company has received from the town.
    Supervisor Steven C. Richards said there appears to be $87,574 either missing or unaccounted for in town funds the company received in 2003.

    Councilman Michael J. Ross said a few company members, including Chief Daniel J. Hosie, showed up at his house late last week to say the company was going to disband.

    Board members have been asking Active Hose for documents, such as original ledgers and bank statements, to be forwarded to the town's consultants.

    In a letter to the fire company dated March 26, Kevin M. Kearney, an attorney representing the town, told Donald Hillman, treasurer for Active Hose, the board will not pay the company any more money until the fire company provides Kearney everything he is asking for.

    Hillman did deliver a packet to the board March 1, but Kearney, in a letter to Hillman, said it didn't meet the town's requirements.

    However, Hosie on Sunday said Ross misinterpreted his comments. By saying the fire company would be "done" if the board withholds the money for 2003, he meant it would leave Active Hose with no operating funds, Hosie said.

    It would not mean the company would disband, he added.

    He also showed The Buffalo News copies of the company's financial statements with red "Town Clerk" stamps on them dated March 1, showing the clerk did receive them.

    The Town Board shut down the town's other fire company, Niagara No. 1, in February 2001 after receiving complaints from Niagara Active Hose that Niagara No. 1's members were a danger to themselves, other firefighters and town residents.

    Robert Jasper Sr., another representative of Active Hose, said the board would like to close the fire hall, located near Town Hall on Lockport Road, and use it as a court.

    Because the courts are so crowded, the board has been looking to expand Town Hall, he said.

    The company rejected a board proposal of $800 a month for use of the hall because that amount would not cover the fire company's expenses for heating and lighting the building, Jasper said.

    The fire company plans to talk about the issue at a meeting Tuesday, said Jasper, who added his preference is to disband the company.

    William Jasper Jr., the company's assistant chief, said Active Hose plans to close on the purchase of the fire hall, formerly occupied by the Niagara 1 Fire Company, on Wednesday.

    Active Hose moved from its old quarters at 3994 Lockport Road to the former Niagara 1 quarters, near the corner of Lockport and Military roads. If the board withholds funds, it may short-circuit the company's closing on the building, the assistant chief said.


    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial...29/1030836.asp
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Default

    "Active Hose" soon to be "Inactive Hose" ????

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    Default

    It may be!
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Default Fire company to air controversy in public meeting on its finances

    TOWN OF NIAGARA

    By PAM KOWALIK
    News Niagara Bureau
    3/31/2004

    TOWN OF NIAGARA - Niagara Active Hose Fire Company officials plan a public information meeting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the company's financial controversy.
    The meeting will be held in the former Niagara No. 1 Fire Hall, near Lockport and Military roads.

    Chief Daniel J. Hosie said Tuesday he is troubled by the Town Board's decision to withhold payments to the fire company until a board representative is allowed access to all of the company's financial records.

    He said the financial records were given to the company's attorney, who forwarded them to Kevin M. Kearney, an attorney representing the Town Board.

    Hosie said that even with out the town funding, the company will still be able to operate for at least a few months. But survival beyond that point would be difficult, he said.

    About 75 Active Hose members decided on the public session after meeting in the fire hall Tuesday night.

    The company is in the process of buying the fire hall, which housed the former Niagara No. 1 Fire Company. Price tag for the building is $400,000.

    Town Supervisor Steven C. Richards confirmed in a telephone interview Tuesday night that the fire company's records were turned over to Kearney.

    He said he hopes fire company members huddle with the Town Board before Saturday's meeting before the public.

    Richards said he is concerned that money is not being properly handled and suggested the company's problems may be bookkeeping errors, not wrongdoing.

    "We're not adversaries with them," Richards said. "We want to see them survive." He said Town Board members could suggest alternative financial avenues available to the company.

    Richards suggested he might be able to engineer a more favorable purchase price for the old Niagara No. 1 fire hall by paying off the mortgage currently held by HSBC.

    He also denied reports the Town Board wants to use the building to house town courts.

    "We could build an ultra modern building for $100,000," said Richards. "I think instead of having a community rally, they should first sit down with the Town Board and see if we can straighten this out."

    Niagara Active Hose became the town's only fire company when Niagara No. 1 Fire Company was shut down two years ago after a firestorm over missing funds and members' incompetence.

    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial...31/1029597.asp
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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