SALEM — The town of Salem sang its swan song Monday at the last official meeting of the town, established in 1842.
Town officials paid tribute to former town leaders, employees and volunteers. Residents shared personal stories of growing up in the town. The Town Board conducted some final business and adjourned into a new era as the village of Salem Lakes.
“There is definitely nothing wrong with growing and changing,” said Jodi Meier, whose late father Joe Meier was a beloved town official. “I know my dad would say, ‘This is not the end. It is the beginning. There is no future in the past.’”
At 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the town of Salem and the village of Silver Lake will become one municipality, to be called the village of Salem Lakes.
More than 50 residents from both municipalities attended Monday’s meeting and stayed for cake and conversation.
Town chairwoman Diann Tesar said the merger is proof “that local government can be creative, nimble and responsive to its citizens.” She gave a brief history of the town, which includes the detachment of Silver Lake from the town in 1926.
“So, now, we are reunited with Silver Lake,” Tesar said. “I’m optimistic about this endeavor. It’s a positive move for both Salem and Silver Lake.”
Supervisor Dennis Faber said there will be “naysayers,” but believes they will soon realize the benefits of the merger. Residents in attendance lauded the officials for their efforts.
“I would just like to thank all of the members of the current board for all of the work that you did,” Steve Brown said, garnering applause from the audience.
Shirley Boening, a former, longtime town chairwoman, said Monday was “a very sad day” for her personally. But, she agreed that incorporation is the logical next step.
The Salem Lakes Village Board will meet for the first time at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Village Hall in Silver Lake. It will be made up of Silver Lake officials through the first election in April. Salem officials are running for open seats on the new Village Board. Three trustee seats and the village president position are open.