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Police given use of firing range for qualification

The Village of Lancaster on Monday agreed to let the Police Department use an existing shooting range in the basement of the Municipal Building for firearms qualification.

The town and village police agreed to merge forces in 2003. Mayor William G. Cansdale Jr. said the basement range at 5423 Broadway closed down after that, until several members of village fire companies asked to form a gun club, utilizing strict sign-in and lockup procedures.

"They've been keeping it operational," Cansdale said. "They've updated it and kept it cleaned."

Police Chief Gary F. Stoldt said officers will not be using the shooting range during normal business hours or in the evenings when the building is being used for other business, such as Village Board meetings. He said his officers would also take responsibility for maintaining and cleaning it after each use.

Firearms qualification will be overseen by Lts. Erin Meyers and James Robinson, both certified New York State firearms instructors. No recreational shooting by members of the Police Department will be allowed, Stoldt said.

His request for the department to use the range was approved unanimously by members of the Village Board.

In other business, the board:

*Announced its intention to hire an events director -- at $18,000 plus a commission based on sponsorships -- to plan and manage operations for the village's Special Events Series, which includes the July 4 festivities and car show, Taste of Lancaster, Lancaster Gardenwalk, the annual art show, the municipal tree-lighting ceremony and the New Year's ball drop. The position becomes available Jan. 1.

Cansdale said that the salary of the events director is offset by revenue generated by the events series and that no tax dollars are used. Linda and Peter Herr, who managed village events for the last six years, indicated to the Village Board in August that they would like to pass the torch, he said. Resumes should be directed to the village clerk, Michael E. Stegmeier.

*Received a briefing from attorney Paul D. Weiss of Bartlo, Hettler & Weiss of Kenmore on the village's subscription in 2003 and 2004 to a self-insured workers' compensation company, Public Entity Trust of New York, that went bust after the village dropped out of the plan.

About 13 towns, villages and school districts in the state are now on the hook for as much as $750,000 or more as a result of their involvement in that company.

Weiss and Village Attorney Arthur A. Herdzik believe that the Village of Lancaster should not have to pay the money because the mayor and the board never authorized the contract.

They said the contract was signed by then-Town Clerk Tammy M. Derkovitz.


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