Twenty-six votes could be all it takes to become mayor of this tiny New York town


To the voting booth, residents of Dering Harbor! (Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Things are getting tense in the nail-biter that is Dering Harbor's mayoral election.

Never heard of Dering Harbor, you say? That could be because the tiny village boasts only 11 full-time residents, according to the most recent census.

Its current mayor, Timothy Hogue, is fighting for his political life after last month's election resulted in a 25-25 tie with his challenger, retired Wall Street banker Patrick Parcells, who wrote himself in, according to Newsday. A second election is being held today in the 35-home village on Shelter Island, N.Y.

The two candidates are feuding over hedge-trimming regulations, the town's Internet presence (it doesn't currently have one) and a nepotistic lock on the all-volunteer board of trustees.

Parcells wants the town to have a Web site, while Hogue argues it is too expensive and time-consuming to maintain.

And there's the issue of the volunteer board, which, Parcells says, is too strongly controlled by a small, related group. After 22 years as mayor, Hogue countered that most Dering Harbor residents probably don't want to be on the board anyway, because vacation:

He attributed the limited board makeup to having only a few dozen residents, many of whom want to enjoy their summers boating or golfing, not participating in board meetings.

In the great state of New York, Dering Harbor is the smallest incorporated town, with all of two square miles to its name and a lot of expensive vacation houses:

Several dozen part-time residents live most of the year elsewhere, primarily in Manhattan, village officials said. All residents can register to vote in village elections, regardless of whether they live there year-round. ...
Dering Harbor's budget is $320,000 this year. A resident with a $3 million home pays $8,000 in village taxes alone.

Luckily, Dering Harbor residents have another opportunity to let their voices be heard. The polls open again today from noon to 9 p.m, Newsday reports. And in this town of roughly 60 voting-eligible people, every single ballot counts.

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip
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