A court decision Tuesday could lead to an end of the stalemate between the Village of Prospect and its firefighters. The groups have been fighting since the village dissolved the fire department in September. YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us what the next steps are and how the issues could be resolved.
ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- A worker's compensation claim led villagers to dissolve the Prospect Fire Department in September. But it was what village leaders did next that set off firefighters.
The Prospect Fire Company's attorney Terence Hannigan said, "What originally occurred in this matter was that the village seized all the property in disregard of the proper ownership."
Hannigan claimed the company owns the property.
"There's a distinction between a village fire department and a fire company," he explained.
He said they're a private not-for-profit and they paid for most of their equipment without Prospect's funding.
"The dissolution of the department is really just the village acquiescing or giving up any authority or control. And if that's their concern, that's legitimately their concern, that they don't want liability for it, then that's fine," Hannigan said.
The village's attorney, Tom Hughes, says they don't want that liability. They just want to sort out who owns what and that's the basis for the new court decision.
"So we've agreed to conduct a joint inventory of all property to determine what's owned by the fire department, which has been abolished, which actually would be village property, purchased with public funds and what's the separate property of the fire company," said Hughes.
The big ticket item is the building. The company says they've been leasing it.
"There were allegations made there was a lease entered into at some point. Nobody's found those papers yet," Hughes said.
If they don't find the lease, it may revert back to the village.
The rest of the property will still be divvied up over the next three weeks.
The fire company says they're now looking outside village leadership, hoping to work out a deal with the Town of Trenton to continue covering their area. Right now, it's being covered by other neighboring departments.