Oriskany and Whitesboro Fire Departments are proposing a merger that would create a joint fire district that encompasses both the villages and town coverage areas.

Oriskany Fire Chief Jeff Burkhart says with a merger, all business and day to day operations would be handled by a board of fire commissioners instead of a town board.

He says the departments would have the advantage of sharing services and equipment which will come in handy sooner than later because each department is in need of a new fire truck that would cost upwards of $600,000 separately, but with a merger neither department would need a new one.

The merger would also create an elected Fire Commissioner position and give taxpayers more transparency and control over the departments.

A public hearing was held last night to discuss the issue, and Burkhart says the next step is a public vote.

Burkhart added that as a taxpayer, he hopes to see the merger go through.

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