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Parishville seeks certificate of need to cover Colton

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PARISHVILLE — The Parishville Volunteer Fire Company is seeking a certificate of need from the state Department of Health after discovering the support it has long provided to Colton is technically illegal.

The company has a mutual aid agreement with Colton to provide fire and rescue services when requested. Volunteers have provided the support for years but recently discovered that by doing so they were accidentally at risk of running afoul of the law.

The state Department of Health requires rescue squads to possess a certificate of need to legally provide assistance to an area outside their boundaries.

“You need a certificate of need to cover an area out of our township. We’ve been doing it for years, but we got turned in,” said Parishville Fire Chief Edwin Cool.

Potsdam Rescue Squad members recently informed Mr. Cool the well-intentioned assistance was technically illegal and could get them in trouble if the state found out.

The company held a public meeting Wednesday night to discuss any concerns the community has with the changes, but Mr. Cool said the certificate is primarily a legal formality.

“We’re not doing it to cover any territory of anyone else who covers that area,” he said.

Assuming the community has no major concerns, Mr. Cool will send the necessary paperwork to the Department of Health by the end of the week.

“If everything goes through with no complaints we’ll turn that paperwork in,” he said.

Mr. Cool said he does not know how long it will take to receive the certificate.

The certificate of need will only apply to the company’s rescue squad. Firefighters are not affected by the law and can continue to provide service.

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