The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees voted to close the study started in 2008 that may have move the municipality towards becoming a city.
It didn’t take long for Saranac Lake Village Board members to settle in to their new home on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall during the Jan. 23 meeting, the first one since moving from the old village offices at 3 Main St. a week prior.
The sometimes contentious proceedings — with Mayor Clyde Rabideau strictly enforcing Robert’s Rules of Order — made for a few tense moments, none more so than when trustees reached Bill 15 on the agenda, an agreement with the Ausable Valley Grange to host the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market each Saturday from June 2 to Oct. 13 in Riverside Park. Aside from the dates, it was the same exact contract the board approved in 2011, according to trustees.
Trustee Elias “Allie” Pelletieri’s motion to table the bill passed by 3 to 1, with trustees Tom Catillaz and John McEneany voting in favor and Trustee Jeff Branch voting against.
“We should be really cautious on how we use the parks during our prime (time) of the year,” Pelletieri said, adding that the board is currently reviewing the land use for the park and updating its comprehensive plan.
Pelletieri’s reasons to wait until April 9 to pass Bill 15 were varied, and he wanted to change a few items in the agreement before the board approved it.
“They want to keep the name the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market,” Pelletieri said. “I’m not sure we should be selling our name to it ... maybe a Saranac Lake Saturday Market, because if another market wanted to come to town and use our name on Tuesday or something, I don’t know why these people should have the exclusive rights to something they’re only using one day.”
When it came time to pass Bill 17 – an agreement for Daffest organizers to use Riverside Park in late April – Branch objected and wondered why Pelletieri could pass the Daffest request and not the Farmer’s Market request.
“This farmers’ market has been a proven benefit to the village, and why we want to stymie that is beyond me.”
The Daffest agreement passed. The second annual event will be held from April 27 to May 13.
Then McEneany, who wondered why he wasn’t able to discuss Bill 15 before the trustees voted, made a revised motion to approve the farmers’ market agreement. They did, unanimously, with the understanding that the specifics could be negotiated until both parties are satisfied.
Time was of the essence, not for Saranac Lake Farmers’ Market organizer Sam Hendren, who was at the meeting, but for farmers in the region. Asked after the meeting how important the board’s decision was to his group, Hendren said, “I think it was very important. We need to get organized for the season, so this is a good start.”
Even though it is only January, farmers are currently preparing for the summer.
“The real concern is there are farmers out there planting their growing season based on selling their products in Saranac Lake,” Hendren said. “They’re buying seeds. They’re making investments in fertilizers or other growing items that they need to use, and they’re spending a lot of money based on the fact that they’re going to be here. And so we need to make that market available for them so they have access to that income.”