Oswego Council Returns Funds To Fire Department Budget

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Common Council voted 5-1-1 Monday night to transfer $100,000 from the personnel contingent account back into the fire department’s personal services account.

Councilor Bill Barlow said his position on the matter hasn’t changed. The overtime is unsustainable in the long-term and the short-term, he said.

However, this money was already budgeted, Councilor Fran Enwright, pointed out.

“To expect the (fire) department to do all of the codes work and all of the rest of the work (without overtime) is just not realistic,” he said. “I feel that what’s being asked for is justified.”

Councilor Shawn Walker said he’d support the transfer, citing that the fire department’s overtime has gone down this year.

Councilor Ron Kaplewicz said the department’s ambulance service does provide revenue for the city.

There have been cuts in the department’s manpower as well as the number of ambulances over the years, he said, adding the city has to maintain a level of safety for its residents.

The $100,000 was budgeted, he said, adding that the council will keep a close eye on hop it’s being spent and make adjustments as needed.

“If we continue to do that, I feel comfortable with this expenditure,” he said.

“This is what we originally set aside for them at the start of the year. So, I’ll be supporting this,” Council President Eric VanBuren said.

Mayor Tom Gillen agreed that the council will continue to keep the fire department’s budget under review and tweak it as needed.

The department needs to continue to rein in its overtime, Councilor Pat McLaughlin said. They need to keep working on it so they don’t have to come back to the council for more funds, he added.

Councilor Barlow cast the lone nay vote and Councilor Mike Todd was excused.