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Town continues to stall on fire contract; village shuts out public

After referencing a copy of the Open Meetings Law that was on hand, reporters determined that the private meeting was being held in violation of the Public Officers Law, Article 7 and entered the closed-door session.

Officials acknowledged discussing the fire contract, halted their discussion and agreed not to discuss it again during executive session.

Village Attorney Doug Wright refused to answer why the matter was being discussed in violation of open meeting laws saying only, "I answer to the village board, not to you."

Later in the meeting after Wright had left, village Mayor Mickey Desmarais said the board went into executive session on Wright's recommendation.

"Doug felt we should go into executive session and we usually listen to what our lawyer tells us," Desmarais said.

Desmarais said the village's position on the fire department contract with the town had not changed. The village's rate is based on assessed values, he said, noting that town and village residents are charged the same rate, about 40 cents per thousand of assessed value.

Town officials have argued that the amount the town pays is too high and should not be based on assessed values, but on a flat fee that does not include charges for engineering costs, such as the village's plan to build a new fire hall.

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