The chief of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department on Thursday expressed his frustrations to the Village of Lawrence board about the lack of a new fire protection contract in the village.
“We’ve reached the saturation point,” said Chief John McHugh, who was accompanied at Lawrence Village Hall with members of the department. “This has been going on too long. We have no other way to feel than mistreated.”
There has not been a new contract for LCFD in the Village of Lawrence for at least a year — the village board has been extending the old contract for months at a time. Lawrence covers 53 percent of the department’s expenses.
Mayor Martin Oliner said the latest snag is due to changes that came in that day and have yet to be reviewed by Village Attorney A. Thomas Levin.
“I don’t have a contract in front of me that I can approve tonight,” Oliner said. “You’re preaching to the choir. We’ve done everything to move this forward, but we keep getting hung up. We want to be finished with this.” He added, “I apologize.”
According to McHugh, the department’s attorney sent in a new draft of the contract on Jan. 4.
Meanwhile, the Village of Lawrence is also lending money to the fire department for its $2 million project to expand its firehouse, but the project has yet to be given the green light by the board. Currently, the firehouse does not meet modern standards and cannot fit modern equipment, according to department members.
The Village of Cedarhurst and the North Lawrence Fire District have already approved their shares of the project.
“There’s got to be some point where this has to be resolved,” McHugh said. “We’re running out of patience and time.”