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September 26, 2013

Enjem finally declared winner in Richfield

Final ballot gives incumbent two-vote victory margin

By Joe Mahoney The Daily Star
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Richfield Town Supervisor Fran Enjem was declared the winner of the town’s GOP primary Friday afternoon after he garnered the final paper ballot to be opened by Otsego County election officials, depriving challenger Nicholas Palevsky of his chance to finish with a tie.

The final tally from this month’s primary has now officially been recorded as 147 votes for Enjem and 145 for Palevsky.

The outcome was a defeat for the Richfield Town Republican Committee, which had backed Palevsky, a former town supervisor. The town committee is headed by Donald Urtz, the chairman of the town Planning Board and one of the foremost advocates of the controversial Monticello Hills wind farm project that has divided the community.

Had the final ballot gone to Palevsky, the contest would have ended in a draw, and Urtz’s committee would have filled the nomination.

Enjem is unopposed in the Nov. 5 general election. The incumbent has strongly questioned whether Richfield would be adequately protected by a proposed community host agreement with the developer of the proposed wind farm.

While Enjem says he is neutral on the project, his candidacy for re-election has been supported by many opponents of the towering turbines that would bracket U.S. Route 20 on the western edge of town if the project moves forward.

Larry Frigault, a local businessman who is a candidate for the town board and one of the community’s most vocal opponents of the turbines, said: “I am thrilled that Fran Enjem is going to remain our town supervisor. He has done a really good job under difficult circumstances, with a board that has worked against him almost since the day he started.”