Residents pack meeting as Garden City weighs nixing paid fire dept.

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Garden City residents packed Village Hall Wednesday night as the trustees weighed a cost-cutting plan that would replace paid firefighters with volunteers. Garden City residents packed Village Hall Wednesday night as the trustees weighed a cost-cutting plan that would replace paid firefighters with volunteers.
GARDEN CITY -

Garden City residents packed Village Hall Wednesday night as the trustees weighed a cost-cutting plan that would replace paid firefighters with volunteers.

The village currently has 11 paid firefighters and 100 volunteers. Eliminating the paid force would save taxpayers $2.1 million, according to Mayor Brian Daughney.

Many residents at the meeting objected to the plan because they hadn't learned of it until a day earlier.

MORE: Garden City FD considers plan to use only volunteer firefighters

"In all my time in Garden City, growing up we treat people well," says Gerry Kelly. "We don't put the nuclear option, as you guys call it, on the table to eliminate people who have served. I just think that's wrong."

Others say they oppose the move because they are willing to pay to keep the paid firefighters on the job.

"It seems to me to be penny-wise and pound foolish, unnecessary and gratuitously cruel to do this to these firefighters," says Vincent Scala.

"What are we getting in terms of value?" asks MaryBeth McNeilis. "I am willing to pay, and many of my fellow residents tonight are certainly willing to pay."

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