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Bell, Katz Differ on Pelham Street Fair Money

PELHAM, N.Y. – Two of Pelham’s most popular business owners have differing opinions on whether or not Pelham’s Board of Trustees should help foot the bill for the June 24 village street fair

Dave Katz, co-owner and executive chef of the Depot Market, as well as vice president of the Pelham Chamber of Commerce, said the board should provide financial support. Richie Bell, owner of Pelham Produce and Village Wine and Liquor, does not think the board should have to pay a penny.

“As the vice president of the chamber of commerce, I think it’d go a long way for the village board to help out a struggling, struggling chamber and show that they’re willing to help out downtown by paying for what we need paid,” Katz said. Bell said the company hired to run the fair, Streetfairs.org, should pay a majority of the cost.

“They [the board] shouldn't give any money – of course not,” Bell said. “Why would the board really pay when an outside person is being hired? If somebody’s getting paid, they've [Streetfairs.org] gotta pay.”

Bell also stressed that Streetfairs.org should be responsible for paying the clean-up costs, which Pelham’s Department of Public Works will handle. That notion was shared by Trustees Laura Morris and Paul McGoldrick at Wednesday night’s board meeting, where the discussion first started on whether or not the board should help support the chamber financially.

Katz asked the board to help the chamber in paying for the fair because it has gotten “to the point where it’s too much.”

“We definitely need help,” Katz told the board. “The chamber is a living and breathing organization for downtown and it’s struggling right now. Our downtown is in dire straits. We've already have five or six stores close in the last six months. We need all the help we can get and we’re coming to you guys for that help.”

While the mayor initially said it has been the board’s policy that “the village can’t accrue any costs on these kinds of events,” his opinion was swayed by Katz and other members of the board during the more than 10-minute discussion on the financial details of the event.

“We’re going to continue to discuss whether the village is going to be able to pay for it,” said Trustee Geoff Lewis after the meeting.

Katz had support on the issue from Trustee Susan Marciona, who said he had “a very good case,” for the board providing financial support because the board has to “support the businesses that we have.”

“If we’re going to be supportive of our downtown, the street fair just gets more and more crowded every year,” she said. “It’s a great thing.”

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