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Lewis County to contract with Lowville FD for training, planning

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County will contract with the Lowville Volunteer Fire Department for training associated with the protection of county buildings.

County legislators voted 9-0 Tuesday to provide $2,000 to the fire department for annual training services, with Legislator Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners, absent.

“We’re not paying any taxes” to the department, said Legislator Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden.

However, it handles fire protection for all county buildings in the village, and there has not been a plan established in recent years on how to evacuate the third floor of the county office building on North State Street, Mr. King said.

While fire trucks used to be able to access the rear of the building, that changed several years ago when a new courthouse was constructed behind the structure, he said.

The funding will be used to help with planning and training for emergencies in county buildings, Mr. King said.

Services are to include a semi-annual inspection of all fire systems, access points and system entry maps, active training exercises for various emergency scenarios and having a representative on the county safety committee.

“It’s going to take time and effort on their part,” he said.

Department and county officials are to hold annual meetings to review and update the agreement.

County Manager David H. Pendergast noted that Tuesday’s meeting would be his last regular session before his April 30 retirement.

Mr. Pendergast, of Watson, was chosen by legislators in March 2008 from a field of 47 applicants. He said he has enjoyed his time with the county and the support of legislators and department heads.

“But after 32 years, it’s time for me to go fishing, and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.

The county is soliciting applications for those interested in filling the soon-to-be vacant post. Resumes are due April 15.

Mr. Pendergast specifically thanked several people, including county attorney Richard J. Graham; Treasurer Patricia L. O’Brien and her predecessor, Vicki A. Roy; Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan; and prior Chairman Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham. However, he saved his final accolades for longtime county legislative Clerk Teresa K. Clark.

After pausing for several moments to control his emotions, Mr. Pendergast called Mrs. Clark a “great asset to this county,” noting her willingness to draw up last-minute resolutions or undertake other projects to assist county leaders.

Following his short speech, legislators and other meeting attendees gave Mr. Pendergast a standing ovation.

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