Sidney, New York
|Sidney, New York|
|• Type||Town Council|
|• Town Supervisor||Bob McCarthy (R)|
|• Town Council|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST)|
The Town of Sidney contains a village with the name Sidney. The town is on the northwest part of the county.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 50.7 square miles (131.2 km²), of which, 50.3 square miles (130.3 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (0.75%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,109 people, 2,565 households, and 1,641 families residing in the town. The population density was 121.5 people per square mile (46.9/km²). There were 2,987 housing units at an average density of 59.4 per square mile (22.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.35% White, 0.85% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.44% of the population.
There were 2,565 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $30,078, and the median income for a family was $35,351. Males had a median income of $28,168 versus $25,014 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,335. About 11.1% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
Sidney town supervisor, Robert McCarthy, began an effort to declare a Muslim cemetery of the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani Dergahi (a Sufi Muslim center) illegal. He was quoted saying that the town board "will be seeking to have these bodies disinterred and stop future burials.". When questioned about the legal basis for town action he responded, "I don't know what the exact law is". On August 12, 2010, the town board voted unanimously to authorize Town Attorney Joseph A. Ermeti to commence with legal proceedings against the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani Dergah. MSNBC’s Keith Olberman brought instant fame to the small town of Sidney when he announced Bob McCarthy as “The Worst Person in the World”  and Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert joked about the residents of Sidney being scared of Muslim vampires.
Members of the Sufi Muslim center had contacted and demonstrated to Bob McCarthy that the cemetery was in fact legal (established in 2005 ) and had the permission of the municipal government to establish a cemetery. In addition, each of the two burials was registered with the town. Supervisor McCarthy has forwarded all inquiries to the Town Attorney Joe Ermeti, who delayed response to the Muslim community until October 14, 2010 - the day of Sidney's town meeting. The statement made by Sidney's lawyer and town board said they would not pursue legal charges against the Sufi cemetery, but would also not recognize its legality. Supervisor McCarthy refused to apologize to the Sufi community and to the town. The Huffington Post published an article detailing the incident which subsequently gained national and international attention.
McCarthy still maintains the law is on the side of the Sidney Town Board, while lawyers and Hans Hass, spokesman for the Muslim center, contend otherwise. An official statement was provided by the Muslim center detailing the cemetery issue and legal documentation.
Current Sidney Town Board: Robert McCarthy, supervisor; C. Peter Cordes, councilman; Tobias Whitaker, councilman; Eric T. Wilson, councilman; William Heath, councilman; Joseph A. Ermeti, town attorney
Outrage at McCarthy's handling of the Sufi cemetery issue as well as his (with the collusion of the town board) lack of response to public concerns and secrecy surrounding a proposed natural gas pipeline through the town led to greater political awareness and activism in the town resulting in the defeat of council-members Hamilton and Schaeffer in the off-year elections of November 2011. The election of democrat Gaby Pysnik and independent Walter Goodrich had broken McCarthy's control of the town board. Mrs. Pysnik had to resign due to a tragic personal issue and Mr. Goodrich unexpectedly passed away leaving two vacancies on the board. In November 2012 two Independents backed by the local Democratic party and a very strong grassroots movement produced record numbers at the booth with local activist Tobias Whitaker officially gathering 1028 votes and William Heath gathering a very respectable 974 votes. The two combined for nearly 52% of the votes among the five candidates on the ballot.
The 2013 Town Board elections produced some interesting results. With two town board seats and the Supervisor position up for election town residents were forced to witness one of the most negative campaigns in recent memory. Ironically John Woodyshek gathered the most votes (614) though there was sufficient evidence of environmental concerns during his tenure as the Village Engineer. Paul Muratore on the other hand finished with the least amount of votes(502)and was labeled "a environmental radical" via Woodysheks radio ads. Incumbent Pete Cordes was reelected by a slim margin over Jodi Proffitt who produced a rather significant ballot total considering he did the bare minimum on the campaign trail. Gene Pigford edged Bill Heath for the Supervisors seat though Heath will continue to serve as a councilman until the end of his term in 2015.
Communities and locations in the Town of Sidney
- East Sidney
- Franklin Depot –
- Sidney – The Village of Sidney.
- Sidney Center --
- South Unadilla –
- Youngs --
- John Marano (2004-03-30). "Sidney Chamber History". Sidneychamber.org. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Breakey, Patricia (2010-09-29). "Local Muslim cemetery draws national attention » Local News » The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY". Thedailystar.com. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Andrew Reinbach: Tiny Upstate New York Town Wants Local Muslims to Dig Up Their Cemetery". Huffingtonpost.com. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- Like. "Bob McCarthy wants to exhume the bodies from the Muslim cemetery. on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Terror a New One - The Colbert Report - 2010-28-09 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Colbertnation.com. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Sidney Grave Site". Docstoc.com. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Osmanli Naksibendi Dergahi - Cemetery Statement". Scribd.com. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2012-04-07.