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PIKE'S DO-IT-ALL MAYOR IS READY TO PACK IT IN

Did Buffalo Mayor Masiello ever run a snowplow up Delaware Avenue?

Did New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ever mow the grass on Central Park's ball diamonds?

Did either ever make sure that their city's water systems were in order and repair them if they weren't?

Probably not, even though they regard themselves as servants of the people.

But Mayor James P. Millen of the Wyoming County Village of Pike has performed all of those tasks -- and with zest.

It helped keep Pike's 1994-95 budget to $59,274. Sadly, the 1995-96 budget may jump $4,000, says Village Clerk Gladys Galton.

Millen's last day in office after 14 years as Pike's mayor is next Friday. Not that he lost an election this week. No, he chose not to run again.

"Things are getting more complicated and I didn't think I was able to do the job as well as it should be done," said the widower and former dairy farmer and school custodian.

And, he's 84.

Some years, Millen had no opposition.

"Sometimes, it's been tough finding someone to run for mayor of Pike," said Chris Beardsley of Pike Hardware Store. "Who wants to work for almost nothing?"

Millen did not work for nothing.

"I think I am paid $1,800 a year," he said.

When some eager person did challenge for the job, Millen, a Republican, always won.

Pike, though small by some standards, has grown a bit in recent years.

"We have about 370 people in the village now," Millen said. "The business section has the Pike Hardware Store, a Red & White food store, a barbershop, a pizza place and the Fairview Restaurant."

Millen eats breakfast there most mornings.

Wouldn't it be wise for the village to dissolve and turn over all government to the Town of Pike?

"I am opposed," he said. "Village residents would lose control of their government. And besides, the Town of Pike doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of village services."

A younger man took over Pike's snowplowing this year, and Village Trustee Ron Clester took care of watching the 150-customer water system that's served by two wells.

The new mayor, elected without opposition, will be Keith Granger, a guard at Groveland Correctional Facility in nearby Livingston County.

Millen has tried to make recent years useful.

"I hope people remember that I have tried to make Pike a better place in which to live," Millen said.

And his service isn't quite over.

"I want to continue mowing the ball diamond grass and part of the Pike Fairgrounds," he said.

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