To disband or not? Community Day provides residents with information they need to vote on Copenhagen FD’s future

Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - A decision of whether or not to disband the Copenhagen Fire Department is well on its way to going up for public vote.

A community day was held Sunday for the Copenhagen Fire Department that had people learning about the department and signing a paper. Department officials were happy with the turnout, hearing from people who want to keep the department.

“The number of people that have been firemen over the years, their families who it has affected, you know, it’s just mind boggling to see it go away,” said Gerald Snyder, a member of the fire department.

The village board voted to disband the department. But if the petition gets around 27 signatures, it’ll force the issue to a public vote.

So far, close to 2 dozen people have signed the petition, like village resident Michelle Dicob.

“We need this fire department‚ we need it here, we need all these people, we need to keep this going no matter what’s going on, no matter what,” said Dicob.

Patricia Bates is part of the fire department’s auxiliary but also on the village board of trustees.

“I don’t feel like a decision like this should be made by four our five people on the village board, I believe the decision should be left up to find out what the voters and the registered tax voters of the village really want,” said Bates.

Fire Chief T.J. Williams says if the department doesn’t dissolve, some things will change mainly because surrounding towns have stopped contracting with the department because of questions over its financials.

“If everything goes good, I think we will just be a village department. Right now, we’re only at 54 calls for the year, which is pretty low,” said Williams.

One reason the village board voted to disband the department was because the department didn’t turn over its 2021 financial books. Williams admits they haven’t done that, but is confident in the department.

“I’m pretty certain that there’s no money missing at this time, obviously we haven’t had an audit done yet, but I’m pretty sure there’s no money missing,” said Williams.

Residents have until October 22nd to collect signatures.