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Crawford hires clerk, considers town hall fees

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Photo by Tamie Meck -- Crawford public works director Bruce Bair counts votes for the part-time position of town clerk at the July 15 council meeting. Toby Stephenson, who has filled in for outgoing clerk Jackie Savage since early June, won by unanimou

The next time you visit the Town of Crawford you will be welcomed by a new face, if you haven't already met her.

At the July 15 public meeting, town council members voted unanimously to hire Toby Stephenson as the new town clerk. Stephenson was among 20 applicants to replace former town clerk Jackie Savage, who moved out of the area in June. Stephenson filled in as temporary town clerk for a little over one month.

Also on the agenda, council members discussed rental rates for the newly remodeled Town Hall. The following rates are being considered for a vote at the Aug. 5 council meeting:

Community room -- half-day $35-$50; full-day $70-$100

Historic classroom -- half-day $20; full-day $40

Kitchen -- warming kitchen, $50/day; full use of kitchen, $125-$150/day

Cleanup/key drop -- $100

Chair deposit -- $75

Table deposit -- $80

Rental of chairs/tables not for use at Town Hall -- $50/$100 (to be refunded upon return of all property to the town).

There is no fee for use of Crawford Town Park, but users are asked to bag and haul out their own trash. It's a good idea, said council member Wanda Gofforth, if for no other reason than because there have been recent sightings of a bear within the town limits.

However, the town is proposing a $20 fee for general access to electricity, and $50 for use of a 20-outlet receptacle.

Trustee Larry Kontour, a member of the American Legion Post 190, brought up the issue of a lease agreement between the post and the town. The 20-year lease was entered into in October, 1997, for exclusive use of one room in the town hall building. The legion has paid the contractual fee of $30, and is up to date on rent.

The room they are currently renting has been renovated and is among the rooms being considered in the town's public rental fees. The legion stores several items in the space, including American flags, and needs to maintain exclusive right to the space, said Kontour, who asked if the town would continue to fulfill its contract obligations.

Post 190 currently has about 40 members, and barely makes $3,000 a year, most of which goes to non-profits and kids, explained Kontour. When they moved into the space 18 years ago, the legion also donated several items to the town. "We are still trying to do our part to promote Americanism," said Kontour.

Kontour said the legion understands that $360 a year is a small price to pay, and could possibly absorb a small increase, but that would require approval by the legion. He requested that the organization be allowed to "function here until the lease expires."

Trustees expressed a desire to both uphold the lease and support the club.

Mayor Susie Steckel said she was not aware that the Post needed a room all to itself and said the town is willing to work with the legion. The issue was tabled until the Aug. 5 meeting to give council time to rewrite the lease and consider all of its options.

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North Fork
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