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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 12, 2012

Differences settled, Altamont’s Memorial Day parade will march on

ALTAMONT — Veterans told the village board last week that they would quit running the Memorial Day parade, after they received only partial reimbursement for last year’s event. This week, after a meeting between the mayor and one of the post commanders, the parade detail is back on, with an easier reimbursement method in place.

“Everybody felt it was, for the veterans, a kick in the gut,” said Dennis Cyr, commander of the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Altamont. The board-approved reimbursement of $700 was slashed to $315 in 2011, he said at the board meeting last week. The reimbursement was meant to cover parade expenses incurred by the VFW, its Ladies’ Auxiliary, and the Helderberg American Legion post in Altamont.

“The two posts are the ones that organized the parade for 25 years now,” Cyr told The Enterprise. “We’re a non-profit organization and we rely on [the funding]. Who sets up the parade for the veterans? They want us to finance it, too? It‘s like we’re throwing our own birthday party.”

“I think it was kind of a kick in the stomach when we got the check back,” said Cyr at the meeting.

Cyr, Ladies’ Auxiliary Treasurer Darlene Stanton, and American Legion member Bob Purzycki spoke at the meeting. Stanton said that the posts spent $1,035, but were told in September when receipts were submitted that the budget year was closed. The groups received a $315 check.

“If there’s been a miscommunication, I want to fix it,” said Mayor James Gaughan at the board meeting. “I, personally, will see that this year’s receipts will be reimbursed up to $700.”

“It’s not necessarily about money,” Cyr said. “It’s not a party. It’s a memorial parade.”

“I’m willing to sit down with you tomorrow…and resolve this,” Gaughan said. “I hear you. I understand where you’re coming from. I’m glad you came so we can reiterate that. If you still don‘t want to continue what you‘re doing, that’s fine. Give us a chance to talk.”

Gaughan and Cyr met on Tuesday evening.

“We agreed it was an unfortunate mixture of miscommunication,” Gaughan told The Enterprise. “We have returned everything to the way it was, with full payment.”

The amount refunded this week was $630, instead of the $700 the posts expected, due to a move made by the board earlier that reduced all contractual expenses by 10 percent to control its budget.

Gaughan said that he asked the village staff to notify the veterans’ posts annually about the amount budgeted for the parade and the procedures for reimbursement, “so everybody knows what they’re supposed to do. This has only turned out for the better,” he said.

During the village board meeting, Judith Dineen, of Altamont Community Traditions, offered to have ACT help with financing the parade. This week, Gaughan said that he informed Cyr of ACT’s offer as an additional means of support.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Cyr said this week. “We are still going to be organizing the parade.”

Cyr said earlier that his children participate in the annual parade.

“It involves the whole village, not just the veterans,” Cyr said. “We need to teach the kids.”

This week, he said that the village and the posts learned from each other.

“Everything is on track,” he said.

Other business

In other business, the village board:

— Agreed to terminate water service to four addresses for delinquent bills. According to Village Clerk Patty Blackwood, eight residences were sent warning letters, and four responded by paying their bills. The remaining four did not respond to the letters or make good-faith payments, she said.

Timothy McIntyre, head of public works, said that he would go to each address and inform the residents of a 15-day shut-off date if payment is not made;

— Agreed to make a proclamation for former Fire Chief Paul Miller, to be presented at the fire department’s installation dinner on Jan. 28; and

— Declined a request by the Sunoco station for credit of a penalty fee of $18.20 for a late bill.

“They don’t give a compelling reason,” said Trustee Christine Marshall.

By Jo E. Prout

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