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Fire training center getting its finances in order

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The financial pieces of resurrecting the simulator at the St. Lawrence County Fire Training Facility in West Potsdam are starting to fall into place.

The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators agreed Monday to give the organization, which is not a part of county government but which is a training center for volunteer firefighters, a revenue stream so it can erect a building for live fire training at an estimated cost of $450,000.

County volunteers have been without a facility of their own since their old building was condemned in 2008.

Legislators agreed to provide the training center with $4,300 this year. Over the next decade, the county will give the facility a total of $90,000, Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, said.

“We’ve offered up a way for the financing to take place,” Mr. Putney said. “I’m very pleased to see the county doing its part for our volunteers. From my perspective, this is the right thing to do to get this project going.”

The facility is ineligible for many public grants because it is not a fire department.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, and state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, secured $100,000 each in state funds for the facility.

The River Valley Redevelopment Agency recently announced a $60,000 grant for an annex building at the site for live fire training. The Industrial Development Agency is pulling together a financing package that includes all the revenue, including donations that have been raised.

Legislators also agreed to increase the amount in the self-insurance plan from $30,000 annually for the fire training facility to $35,000.

The facility is a vital part of taking the burden off volunteers, who have had to conduct fire simulator training in other counties, said Ronald W. Bertram, chairman of the fire training center.

“The ranks have been dwindling,” he said. “We have to offer our firemen training.”

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