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Alcohol, Mayor
May Not Return

By Nathan Mayberg
WURTSBORO — March 28, 2006 – Wurtsboro’s annual street fair, sponsored by the Wurtsboro Board of Trade, will likely be held again this summer.
But its tradition of beer flowing openly on Sullivan Street, in front of children and without limit, could be curtailed if Mayor Edward Handford and Trustee John Klein are able to convince the board in future talks.
At the beginning of a recent meeting of the Village of Wurtsboro Board of Trustees, new Village Attorney Zach Kelson asked Board of Trade President Donna Bacchi if the board had a liquor control plan for the event. Bacchi, who owns Valley Brook Inn and Cottages, will be one of the three vendors allowed to sell liquor at the festival.
“We’ve never had a problem yet,” responded Bacchi.
Klein also questioned whether drinking would be limited to certain areas.
According to several individuals, including event organizers and village representatives, there were two small fights at the fair last year.
Bacchi said she will be contacting the New York State Police to direct traffic around Sullivan Street and for crowd control purposes at this year’s fair.
Sullivan Street will be closed the second Saturday in July for the fair. A detour will go through Pine Street, while Route 209 will remain open. Drinking is scheduled to end outside by 5 p.m.
According to organizers, there were about 125 vendors last year, offering food, jewelry, photography, art, as well as charitable organizations. They said it’s the biggest fundraising day of the year for groups such as the local fire department, ambulance service, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Lions Club. There are bands, clowns, face painting and antique dealers.
The Village Board gave approval to the Board of Trade for this summer’s event, but Handford and Klein said they intend to talk to them about restricting the areas where alcohol can be consumed. Klein said a drinking area should be fenced off from the rest of the fair. He said state law prohibits open glass containers in public anyway.
First Term Is Last Term
Handford also announced that his first term as mayor will be his last.
“I’m retired. I had a good time. I take the good and the bad. I find it educating,” he stated.
Money Matters
Unlike many other municipalities in the county, the Village of Wurtsboro will not be offering tax rebates to its volunteer firemen and other emergency responders this year. Handford said it is his fault for not acting quickly enough. Firemen and emergency responders can still receive tax breaks on their county taxes.
The reconstruction of Sullivan Street, talked about for years and promised assistance by the county, will not begin until at least 2008, said the mayor.
The village also released its preliminary $300,000 budget. The board took a cut in salary last year and will be restoring those cuts this year. Trustees Klein and Mickey Maher will receive a $500 boost each for a total of $3,500 apiece. Handford’s $1,000 pay cut will be returned, bringing him up to $6,000 a year.
The mayor said the village won’t know the budget’s impact on local taxes until next month. One reason is that he has not received the assessments for some of the new buildings in the village. The budget does not detail how much certain departments have increased since last year.
Other main items in the budget include refuse collection at $97,000. Engineering is estimated to cost $22,000; $40,000 was set aside for transmission and distribution of water, even though the village generates $175,800 from the sale of water.
A touch of controversy was added to the meeting by a displaced ten-year member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Patrick Hamill complained that he was never told about being replaced on the board. He was replaced by 22-year-old Ryan Sprague, who was previously an alternate member of the board.
Hamill’s main gripe was that he had to find out on the street about his replacement. However, he also wondered why he was replaced by an alternate. He said he was a clear voice for the people, as he wasn’t conflicted by any real estate or construction deals.
Sprague was a friend of Trustee Klein who did construction work with him as a subcontractor for RJS Construction, which built apartments in the town.
Klein said Sprague just “wants to get his feet wet.”
Handford said he accepted responsibility for failing to inform Hamill. So did Maher and Klein. Handford maintained the appointment was not personal.
“I don’t know how more personal you can get,” said Hamill afterwards.
Several other members of the planning board and zoning board were reappointed. Hamill was the only one to be replaced.
Village Attorney Michael Davidoff, however, was replaced by Kelson, a former village attorney. Handford said there was no reason for it other than he wanted to have his own new attorney.
In Other Business
In other business, Handford announced that he wants to begin installing water meters in the village. All new building projects are required to purchase the meters.
But the price tag could be hefty. Estimates from the village’s new engineering firm, McGoey, Hauser & Edsall, come in at $500 a pop.
The old Blue Paradise property is still awaiting development of a 47-unit senior housing project by Reagan Development. The project has been in the works for over two years. The developers had yet to close on the property at the board’s meeting.
During public comment, Barbara Semonite complained about garbage being left out on Pennsylvania Avenue. Handford and Klein pledged to clean it up.
With the village’s spring cleanup approaching, Handford said the village’s Dumpsters may need to be guarded due to some individuals taking advantage of the cleanup last year. The Dumpsters were filled to overflowing last year.

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