An emotional Alden Town Board met Monday night, opening the meeting with a remembrance of recently deceased Councilman William Weber.
Weber passed away unexpectedly Oct. 9, leaving the three-member board with two members. A miniature Christmas tree and picture of Weber stood where he usually sat at the board table, in recognition of the Christmas tree farm he owned. A pair of cowboy boots was laid out in front of his seat, as he always wore cowboy boots, noted Town Supervisor Harry Milligan.
Councilwoman Mary Riddoch began with a proclamation honoring Weber, almost immediately breaking down in tears. Milligan picked up where Riddoch left off until she was able to continue.
“No matter how difficult the issue before the town was, Bill’s vast knowledge, honesty, level head and concern for the persons involved was always evident,” she said, after regaining her composure.
The board extended sympathies to Weber’s wife and officially recognized him for the service he provided to the community.
Weber, who was running unopposed to retain his seat as town councilman at the time of his death, has been replaced on the ballot by Alden Town Clerk Ralph Witt. Witt was planning to retire Dec. 31 when his term as town clerk ends, but agreed to go on the ballot to replace Weber. He is also running unopposed, and will begin his term Jan. 1, 2014. The original idea was to leave the ballot blank, and have the Town Board appoint someone to the position, Witt said.
“Because the election is coming up, somebody had to be put on the ballot,” he said.
First Deputy Town Clerk Debra Crist is running unopposed to replace Witt as town clerk.
In other board news:
A public hearing on the preliminary 2014 budget was held, with several residents attending to ask if taxes in the town are being raised.
The budget contains a tax increase of 1.4 percent over last year’s budget, Milligan said.
That should lead to a $5 to $10 increase in what residents pay, Witt said.
Most town employees will see a 3 percent raise in the preliminary budget, Milligan said. Residents can view the budget at the town clerk’s office. It will also be online in the coming days, said Colleen Rogers, secretary to the supervisor and bookkeeper.