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Lake George Village Board and Town Board

Meeting

* Lake George Village Board of Trustees and Town Board, joint meeting

Top story

* Lake George officials are drafting a law that would impose fines on those whose automatic alarm systems continually sound false alarms that result in needlessly dispatching volunteer firefighters, costing wear and tear on equipment and taking up volunteer time when they could be needed elsewhere. “We have had instances where in 12 months there are six or seven, as many as a dozen, false alarms from the same unit within our district. The reason we’re bringing it up tonight, the town or village would, or should, have to adopt this jointly,” said Mayor Robert Blais. The Lake George Volunteer Fire Department is a village department that covers the town by contract. “The great majority of the false alarms are in condominiums, townhouses, things like that, which we’re going to see a lot more of,” Blais said. The proposal, which is still being tweaked, would impose an increasing fee for each time the alarm sounds with no emergency, with the first having no charge. For example, the third offense might come with a $100 fine while the fifth might cost $350. “The goal would be (to collect) zero dollars (from the law). It’s the deterrent effect you’re trying to go after,” said Village Attorney Matt Fuller. Other communities in the state have enacted such laws, and Blais said the fines generated $2,000 to $3,000 a year the first year in some communities. If passed, the money from the fines would go to the fire department. “It at least gives the municipalities an opportunity to recover some of the expenses connected with answering these alarms,” Blais said. Officials also raised concerns about declining volunteer numbers, and Blais said legal counsel is still looking into it, but he floated an idea with the Fire Department that village Department of Public Works members who already drive large vehicles could get the necessary licensing and take a course to learn how to operate the pumps so they could drive firefighters to day calls when a volunteer driver is not available. “The problem is the drivers. It’s not the members of the company. It’s getting there ... the truck is manned but there’s no driver,” Blais said. Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said he supported that idea. He also said the town has considered seeking proposals from other volunteer fire departments that currently provide mutual aid. Blais said he is planning to meet with Lake George fire officials again.

Other news

* There’s more that goes into a crosswalk than a can of paint and a straight edge. The village sought and won federal funding in a combined effort with the school to get a crosswalk on Canada Street from the junior-senior high school to the east side of the road in the vicinity of The Georgian Lakeside Resort, but found out after added costs from modifications, they might be better off getting a permit, buying the materials and crafting it in-house. Preliminary estimates pegged the cost at about $30,000 to $35,000 because it involves ripping up the sidewalk at both ends of the proposed crosswalk and reconstructing it to create a dip for access by people with disabilities. The village and town boards voted instead to share a materials cost of about $15,000 and do the job with in-house labor. The school paid for the engineering and the plans, which are finished. The work may be done in April during spring break. The grant would have required the village pay 20 percent.

* The meeting also included Caldwell Sewer District recommendations, discussion about sharing the code enforcement officer, emergency services capabilities and an update on solar projects.

Next meeting

* 6 p.m. Oct. 20 Village Hall; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20 Town Hall

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