Angry Eden farmers are calling for the defeat of Supervisor John S. Tsakos in Tuesday's election because he voted against spending $2,000 to prepare a town farm preservation plan, a first step in applying for federal funds that would be used to preserve the town's agricultural and open land.
The 24 Eden farmers in an advertisement in the local Pennysaver are urging the election of Glenn Nellis, 58, a vice president at Buffalo State College, who if elected promises to be a full-time supervisor.
In a second advertisement in the Pennysaver, six Eden business firms that work with Eden farmers termed Tsakos' vote against the farm preservation plan "a grave mistake."
"By not allowing grant monies to become available to the Town of Eden, we are potentially permitting green space to become developed," the ad said. "In turn, more services are then required, which inevitably would raise our taxes."
The Town Board, by a 2-2 vote Sept. 24, defeated a proposal to hire Darlene Vogel to prepare a farm preservation plan somewhat similar to one she wrote for Erie County.
While Tsakos and Councilman Peter Ruh cast "no" votes, Councilmen Gerry Neifer and George Zittel voted "yes," and Councilman Lynn Penfold abstained.
Tsakos, a Republican seeking a second term, said he recognizes farming as Eden's major industry. He said he voted against the farm preservation plan because he "lacked complete information about the plan."
He added that the plan "would ultimately cost the town 25 percent of whatever funds were allotted to Eden and that Eden's Farm Advisory Committee declined to accept responsibility for performing the necessary work."
Penfold, a Republican who is not seeking re-election, defended Tsakos Tuesday and characterized the controversy as "political."
Penfold told The Buffalo News that he abstained from voting on the issue for the same reason that Tsakos voted against it.
The Agricultural Advisory Board "asked us for a blank check to do this study," he said, "but they didn't have any idea what to do with it. Because they didn't give enough information on the issue, it was voted down."
Although the town missed the deadline to apply for funding for the study this year, Penfold noted, there will be another chance in 1998.