Voters Leave Options Open
by Todd Wellington
After some discussion, Lyndonvilleresidentsattending Tuesday's annual meeting voted to retain village law enforcement services by contracting with the State Police.
The State Police currently patrol Lyndonville for 40 hours a week and receive an hourly overtime rate that cost village taxpayers $46,631.67 for ha lf of 1996. Article
5 asked if voters would approve the continuation of the arrangement at a proposed 1997 budget cost of $70,550.
During a background briefing on the police issue, Trustee Martha Feltus informed the voters that the actual cost of receiving State Police service and that of funding a municipaldepartmentwere "about the same," given the added costs of hiring and equipping a village officer.
The question of whether the State Police provide an adequate service to the village was discussed briefly by voters. Roland Smith voiced concern about the troopers being able to understand the nuances of patrolling Lyndonville as the municipal police had. "I don't they're quite aware of some of the problem areas in town," said Smith but quickly added, "but I do think they are doing a good job."
Some questioned the need to paythe state police to patrol the village when troopers respond to emergency calls anyway at no charge. Trustee Don Blake pointed to the enhanced police presence in the village and potential for increased emergency response time since the contract first went into effect. "It's not uncommon to see two police cruisers in town at a time," said Blake. "We're not spending $70,000 and getting nothing for it," he said. The measure passed 12-3 by a voice vote.
Voters did not, however, approve Article 6, which asked voters to approve the elimination of the savings account, maintained for purchase of a new village police cruiser, with the accrued money ($28,800) being reallocated to savings accounts maintained for garage repairs, improvements and future equipment purchases.
William Toborg led the movement from the floor to defeat Article 6, based on the idea that leaving the account alone to accrue money earmarked for the police cruiser would provide the village with a quick way out of the State Police arrangement should the need occur. "I know we approved them (State Police) this year but next year we might not be so happy with them," said Toborg. Toborg continued that he wished to leave the account alone "in case we decide in the future that we want to go back" to a municipal department. All other articles passed by a majority voice vote.
In the election of village officers, HazenRussellwasre-elected moderator, Robert Lawrence was re-elected clerk, Martha Feltus was re-elected trustee and Linda Lee was re-elected tax collector.
Twoothertownpositions, however, were filled by people who were not present at the meeting.
After determining that anyone could be nominated and elected for a village position, even if they were not at the meeting, Al Ouellette began a rather interesting sequence of events by announcing, "I nominate Dick Boera for auditor." It seemed at first to be a joke but then the nomination was seconded by William Toborg, and Mr. Boera, who was not in the audience and reportedly had no knowledge of his candidacy, was elected auditor for three years.
The same fate befell Lyndonville attorney Joe Benning, as he was elected to the position of village agent while being absent from the meeting.
Of the 617 village residents eligible to vote at the annual meeting, only 18 attended.