The Spencer Fire Department has a new chief, as of the Sept. 2 Spencer Village Board meeting. At that meeting the board voted to confirm the department’s choice of a new leader, Nick Lango, previously the department’s first assistant chief. Most of the other line officers also moved up one position. The board also accepted with regret the resignation of Andy Speer, the outgoing chief, who was forced to resign because he no longer lives in Spencer. Both Speer and the board were reluctant to see him go, as he had served the department well.
The board also received a second resignation, that of Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Winchell. Winchell had been on the job for less than a year but cited a change of work obligations in Owego as the reason he is resigning. The board agreed to wait until after the dissolution vote on Sept. 15 to address his replacement. They reasoned that if the citizens vote to dissolve, it makes no sense to appoint someone to a temporary position. They did agree to hold a special meeting on Wed., Sept 16, the day after the vote, to consider a replacement if the dissolution vote supports keeping the village government intact.
The trustees also agreed to not purchase the $800 set of code books requested by Winchell for use by him and subsequent code enforcement officers. If the dissolution vote fails, they will consider going forward with the purchase at the Sept. 16 meeting. Funds for the code books had already been approved at an earlier meeting.
Trustee Tim Goodrich noted that many items have been out on hold by the COVID pandemic, and there were additional reorganizing issues to take up at that meeting. One such item is the village planning board. The board needs to fill three seats, minimally, with volunteers. Anyone interested in serving the village in this way should contact the village clerk for details. Andrea Sutfin has been on the planning board previously and agreed reluctantly to serve again if needed, so at least two more volunteers are needed.
Under reports, Sutfin noted that work on the grandstand in Nichols Park is coming along well. “The grandstand looks really good!” he said enthusiastically. “[Contractor, Kyle Lent] has put his heart and soul into it,” said Goodrich. “It looks a million times better.” To complete the work, Lent is waiting for the last shipment of siding to arrive.
Sutfin also noted that problems with keypads at the municipal building have not yet been resolved. He will install new batteries to see if that is the repair needed. As for the toilets that run constantly, Sutfin said he will install replacement parts for the tanks. Paving of village streets for this year will begin with milling Nichols Street on Sept. 8, filling potholes, and paving of designated streets to begin on Sept.9.
Sutfin also told the board that he received an email from someone who has typically contacted him only with complaints. He was pleasantly surprised to read this person’s email that said he attended the Laberge Group public information night and changed his mind about voting to dissolve the village after listening to the information presented; he is voting “no” now.
He also wrote that, “for our pay, he can’t believe that we do as much as we do for the village,” Sutfin said. The board members have taken no official position as a board on dissolution, but each one, as an individual citizen, has said that they support keeping the village intact and believe in the work that the village does for its residents.
The dissolution vote will be on Sept. 15, 12 to 9 p.m., at the Municipal Building. Election of trustees will also take place at that time. Trustees Tim Goodrich and Sean Rice are running for their seats, as is Mayor Ken Sutfin. All are running unopposed. A special meeting will be held on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. to evaluate how to go forward after the vote. The next regular meeting of the village board will be on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.