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TL mayor calls for truce between village, town

The mayor of the village of Tupper Lake publicly apologized on Monday for calling town officials "stupid" for not signing a fire protection contract with the village in a timely manner.

"I would like to apologize for the comments to the town board that I made recently," said Mickey Desmarais.

The mayor explained that his words were a "knee-jerk reaction" to the town's behavior, and that he should have "turned the other cheek" instead of lashing out.

The village provides fire protection services to the town for a fee based on an equalization of assessed property values in the town. Both town and village residents pay the same rate per thousand of assessed value, but the total amount the town contributes is nearly 70 percent of the village-owned fire department's total budget.

Relations flared up in April over how the fire department should be run. The town has argued that it should be the one running the fire department and has taken issue with fees for firefighter turnout gear and the village's plan to build a new fire hall.

Desmarais had criticized the town for bring up their concerns just two weeks before the village needed to authorize its final budget.

Without a signed contract from the town, the village would have had to absorb the total cost for the fire department.

Desmarais referred to the town's decision to wait "until the eleventh hour" to bring up their concerns as "bipolar."

"I promise to try and do better," Desmarais said on Monday. He called for the village and town to mend fences and work together to accomplish shared goals.

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