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The mayor and the budget — 1943

April 26, 2008
By Howard Riley,
Well, with the price of gold going right off the end of the scale, my friend Barbara Kent went panning for nuggets — where else? — at the Goldmine on the Bloomingdale Road. The late Orville Paye, Barbara’s uncle, owned the Goldmine, and it still harbors treasures (remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure) that she may reveal in a big yard sale.

The nuggets Barbara found for me came in the form of copies of the Syracuse Post-Standard when that newspaper maintained a North Country Bureau and had one section of the paper that covered Malone, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake — back when newspapers were king of the hill.

Budgets always a problem

I guess it is the mystery (to me) of economics that in 1943 a budget of less that $150,000 took care of a community of 10,000 citizens and now we need a budget of around $3 million to take care of 5,000. Both budgets exclude water and sewer fees.

There were no bylines in any of the stories in the Post-Standard, but here is the lead paragraph on the March 25, 1943 edition about the Saranac Lake village budget session:

“A strict pay-as-you-go policy, continued until 1950, will reduce payments on bonds and interest $40,000, Mayor George J. Carson told members of the village board at their meeting Monday night. This policy was instituted two years ago when the mayor took office, and he expressed hope that it will be continued for the next seven years by his successors.

“The fiscal years of 1941 and 1942 were closed with all bills paid and slight surpluses on hand, was accomplished without increasing bonded indebtedness. Village Manager Charles Goldsmith filed his tentative budget with Village Clerk Albert Breier. It shows an appropriation of $134,075.44 to be raised thru taxation, about $4,000 lower than last year’s budget.

“Trustee Syriac Dupree reminded Manager Goldsmith and the mayor that the village road equipment must be replaced in a very few years and that some provision must be provided in the budget each year for those replacements.

“The mayor and trustees discussed the razing of vacant houses owned by the county and village on tax liens. Trustee Dupree said that many of these places were becoming a menace to public safety, especially on Lake Flower Avenue. The board will contact the county thru Village Attorney Clifford McCormick with a view toward joint action in this matter.”

Guild founded honored

The memory of the first director of the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild (a great house that used to stand next to the library), Edward Moore Parish, was honored by the placing of a plaque to be hung on the walls of the guild house. One wonders what happens to all those honors when the building is demolished. The plaque was designed and made by Miss Patricia Clark.

The committee that planned the memorial was Dr. W.W. Woodruff, Howard V. Littell and Hyman Weiner. Members of the Board of Directors were present at the memorial service and included Dr. F.B. Trudeau, president, and Elwin Walsemann, Dr. L.U. Gardner, A.W. Currier, John S. Ridenour (Enterprise publisher and father of Alice Wareham), Mrs. W.R. Smith, Mrs. Amos Erkander, Roy Dayton, William H. Scopes and Dr. Charles Haskins.

Free school lunches

In another issue of that newspaper, a story tells of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) starting a fund drive for $1,000 to enable the organization to continue to serve free hot lunches to children of needy families. The PTA had also purchased playground equipment for the William Morris Memorial Park.

Now here is an interesting item in the same story: “With the assistance of volunteer firemen the group obtained property from the New York Central railroad that has been used for two winters as a skating rink for the Upper Broadway section.”

Related to the war effort

It seems surreal that, in these days of nationwide terrorist alerts, I remember the village practicing blackouts during WWII with all the houses and streets dark in the entire village and air-raid wardens in special helmets and armbands coming to the door of a house if they spotted a light. In 1942 the head of the Transportation Committee of the Saranac Lake Defense Council, Harold S. Eckart, was making an appeal for Army cots that could also be used as stretchers in the event of an emergency.

The Women’s Motor Corps, sponsored by the Red Cross, was meeting every Monday and Wednesday night at Harvey’s Garage (now the pet food store) on Woodruff Street where Howard Benham gave them “thoro training in the care of motors.” It was so popular that its membership was closed and there was a waiting list for the next course.

And then there was this little news item: “David Paye, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Paye of Bloomingdale Road, fractured his wrist while skating at Lake Colby Monday afternoon. He was treated at the Saranac Lake General Hospital by Dr. Anthony Gedroiz.”


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