Murder in Wellsville
The death of 23-year-old Nicholas Burdge, who died at the hands of eight attackers last March in his North Main Street apartment in Wellsville, was a “horrendous circumstance,” says village mayor Randy Shayler in one on his few interviews regarding the crime. Telling us exclusively, he said the defendants “don’t represent many of the people in Wellsville.” He added, “this was not a random act.” The mayor expressed his first comments during a 30-minute interview with us. The top village-elected official said, “any sentence is too short.” While acknowledging this reckless, savage crime, Shayler wanted to focus on the positive attributes of Wellsville. He did experience moments…of pause.
The medically challenged Burdge was tied to a chair, beaten and cut over a several hour period. His lifeless body was then dumped in the Genesee River. Several of the defendants have already been sentenced in Allegany County court. Several are headed to prison while one was declared a youthful offender and will serve a three-year probation sentence. It is a devastating case and yet has fallen under the radar for many western New York media outlets. One dead. Eight charged. It’s not a throw-away story in a small community with 4,437 people. Shayler added, “no sentence is the right sentence.”
The Burdge criminal case continues. Three more defendants must appear in court. Two are expected to take plea deals while one could potentially head to trial.
Positive Things Happening
The village leader asked if he could focus on some positive highlights of the community. Shayler said the community has received a Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization grant which could help restore some historic buildings. He said the plan is to “make downtown an historic district,” adding that there will soon be major changes to Jones memorial Hospital. “This is good stuff,” he said.
On The Budget
The Wellsville Village Board conducted a budget public hearing on Monday night. Not a single taxpayer showed up. Wellsville Mayor Randy Shayler said, “I’m not surprised.” When challenged about his response, the mayor noted that during his five years, village taxes have dropped and spending is under control. “I’m very happy with where the budget is,” Shayler said.
And yes, there is a proposed 1.5% proposed taxed increase, but Shayler blames COVID-19 for lost revenue. He also noted that, despite the challenges, the village board was able to keep a tax hike under the state-mandated property tax cap. “We need to raise money,” Shayler remarked. When asked if he was pleased and satisfied with the proposed budget, Shayler said “absolutely.”