2010-11-04 / Front Page

Southeast Voters Say No to $3.8 million project

New trustees elected to Brewster board
Staff Reports

On Election Day, Southeast citizens voted against spending $3.8 million to renovate the Old Town Hall into a theater. Put before the voters as a referendum Tuesday, the project was estimated to cost $36 annually per average Southeast household for the next 20 years.

Southeast voters rejected the measure by a margin of 361, with 54 percent saying “no” to the spending request.  The old town hall renovation was proposed by the Southeast town board and community members to help rebuild the village and bring commerce to the area. On August 26 the town board voted unanimously to put the bond referendum to a public vote. Additionally, all five trustees of the village of Brewster, including Mayor James Schoenig, were in favor of the project.

Southeast Supervisor Michael Rights told the COURIER on Friday that the town board would be conferring with the Old Town Hall Task Force—a group formed by the town board to plan and lobby for the project—to determine how they would proceed. “The community needs to see the Village of Brewster revitalized,” Rights said. “I had envisioned the stage in old town hall as a magnet for people. [But] I had concerns all along about the $3.8 million cost.”

Bob Zubrycki, chairman of the theater task force, said the number of people in favor of the theater was encouraging. “I’m hoping we can build on this in terms of going forward in the future,” he said. “We’re certainly still committed to finding a solution, whatever that is, and I think we need to take a little time to get further input from the public—especially those who were not in favor.”

According to Zubrycki, he expects to begin consulting further with the councilmen once the Town of Southeast’s 2011 budget is finalized, probably returning to the drawing board in early December. The old town hall was originally built in 1896 but during the 1980s most town offices had left the facilities. The Southeast Museum, a nonprofit organization, is currently its only tenant.

Two New Trustees to Join Brewster Board

Two new members were elected to the Village Board of Trustees Tuesday. Four candidates were vying for two trustee seats. Tom Boissonnault and Mary Bryde defeated four-year incumbent Yoshihiko Ito and planning board member Renee Diaz. Trustee Bill Banks chose not to run for reelection.

Last week, Mayor James Schoenig and Village Clerk Peter Brewter Hansen said that all four candidates had the potential to do well. Boissonnault and Bryde received 195 and 181 votes, respectively. Diaz received 108 votes and Ito, 114.

There are roughly 2,117 people residing in the Village of Brewster according to a 2009 estimate from the U.S. census bureau.

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