Colby Beach bond, board salaries

A hodgepodge of history

This photo, published in the Enterprise in 1976, was accompanying a story by Bill McLaughlin about the businesses that existed here in 1909. But here’s the kicker: After all the conversation as to when the bricks were first used on the village streets — “It was the year that the main streets were being paved with bricks and Marty Darrah was laying them down with great speed and dexterity with a helper named Miller working right along side of him. The bricks are still there but covered by countless layers of blacktop.”

Let me first draw your attention to the caption under the 1909 photo which documents the building of the ‘yellow brick roads’ in Saranac Lake.

Also, every few years the Colby Beach jumps into the news because many, many residents want the beach returned to Lake Flower — as Village Manager I tried for a year working with committees of state engineers, the village board, civic groups and my own “Sons of the Beach” committee.

But, alas, to no avail.

The Village Board meeting June 4, 1974: John Brewster was Mayor, Eugene Schiller was Village Manager and Joe Stephen was Village attorney.

“At a special meeting yesterday, the village board approved the sale of $25,000 in bonds for supplemental financing of the Lake Colby Beach project. The amount to be raised was authorized by a board resolution in November.

“Before deciding to sell the bonds, board members reviewed project finances to date.

Originally, they said, $112,000 had been allocated to be shared equally by the state and the village.

“About $7,000 remains in the account raised by a previous $56,000 village bond sale, and about $26,000 in the state account.

“The state will not match the $25,000 or any further village expenditures for the project.

“Mr. Schiller will apply to the DEC to dredge or fill the beach to make it more suitable for swimming.”


The Village Board meeting, September 26, 1976: Charles Keough was Mayor: “The Village Board last night tabled discussion of a suggestion to raise the salaries of board members from $1,500 for a mayor [that was my salary as Mayor in 1964], and $750 for trustees to $2,500 and $1,500.

[The present salaries of the board: Mayor, $10,000, Trustees, $5,000.] “The proposal was made by Acting Village Manager Gerald Oxford [former Chief of Police] in his report and was reintroduced later in the meeting by Trustee George Stearns.

“Oxford said the salaries have been ‘grossly inadequate’ for many years and they should be looked into and raised. He pointed out that the present board members cannot raise their own salaries but can only set a new amount for future boards.

“Trustee Stearns said he had noticed a ‘growing resistance to getting people to serve on the board’ and wondered if that would be because ‘people may feel their time is more valuable than the amount offered.’ He then suggested $2,500 for the mayor and $1,500 for the trustees.

“Mayor Keough then proposed ‘let’s table this for further discussion’ and entertained a motion for adjournment.”

The Adirondack Observer

(Friday, April 23, 1948)

The above title was the name of tabloid size newspaper with offices, I believe, in one of the unfinished three top floors of the seven-story Alpine Hotel on Broadway. I don’t have the pages that list the owner/publisher which I may be able to find when I meet again with the Chief of my Research Team, Michele Tucker, Curator of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library. An abbreviated lead story from Page One: “Edward J. Worthington, Jr., President of the Chamber of Commerce, and seven members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors: William G. Distin, Sr., William Dupree, Alfred E, Currier, Tony Anthony, Walter J. McGovern. Thomas B. Cantwell and Harland Branch [Jeff’s Grandfather] met with the Saranac Lake Village Board on Monday and received permission to act as the ‘clearing house’ for eventual requests for village expenditure on publicity matters.

“Citing such attractions as the forthcoming speed boat regatta, July Fourth celebration, the winter carnival, and speed skating tournaments, as well as year-round publicity, Mr. Worthington said he thought the Chamber of Commerce would be better suited to have an ‘over-all’ picture of what was to occur in the village that would demand funds, and that the Chamber could ‘arrange a program of events and expenditures,’ that would be most beneficial to the village.

“In granting permission to the Chamber, Village Mayor Alton B. Anderson, told the commerce group that they could act as a clearing house but that ‘they must bear in mind that final decisions on all expenditures rests with the village board. He further told them that the tentative budget for publicity during the next fiscal year was set at $10,000, but that figure could be increased or decreased before May 10.

“He said that to date the only allotments made from the publicity fund was the payment of salary to the Chamber Secretary and sums of $500 and $800 for the forthcoming Postmasters Convention and the Rebekahs convention.”


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