Thursday, January 05, 2006

Town Board Organizational meeting

Yesterday I sat on the dais at the Dryden Town Board for the first time. At Living in Dryden, you can see Simon's unflattering picture of the swearing in. The organization meeting is structured around a fairly boring list of rubber stamp resolutions authorizing, for example, the Ithaca Journal as the "official" newspaper for legal notices, the names of the people who can sign checks, $100 petty cash for the Town Clerk and reimbursement for Justices attending training.

Among the more significant actions taken is the modification to the resolution contracting Mahlon Perkins as the attorney for the Town which will require a written contract specifying what responsibilities are included in "regular agreed upon Town business" for $2,215 per month. By default this will define other "reimbursable business" paid at $180 per hour.

The District 10 polling place has been changed from the Dryden Baptist Church, which is apparently too far from District 10, to the "Reach Out for Christ Church." Makes me glad I don't live in that district. But I plan to visit the polling place to see how I would feel having to go there to vote.

The Investment Policies and Guidelines were adopted without any change from last year. But I pointed out the reporting requirement in paragraph 6(c and d). (See last years Resolution #26.)
c. Within sixty days of the end of each of the first three quarters of the fiscal year, the Supervisor shall prepare and submit to the Town Board a quarterly investment report, which indicates the new investments, the inventory of existing investments and such other matters as the Supervisor deems appropriate.

d. Within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year, the Supervisor shall prepare and submit to the Town Board an annual investment report; recommendations for change in these investment guidelines; the results of the annual independent audit, the investment income record; and such other matters as the Supervisor deems appropriate.

To the best of my knowledge there has been no such reporting in recent years. In fact, no one can seem to remember when the last independent annual audit occurred. Supervisor Trumbull agreed to undertake the required reporting. We discussed asking the bookkeeper for a monthly budget report. There was no mention of an independent audit, but when I spoke to Dawn after the meeting, she indicated that now that she's cleaned up much of the sloppy record keeping left by the former bookkeeper, she would welcome an independent audit although it demands a great deal of time.

I pointed out that the "Fair Housing Plan" which has been adopted year after year is fairly meaningless. (See last year's Resolution #30) The resolution states that as a result of grants received in 1995 and 1998, "the Town must 'take actions to affirmatively further fair housing.' " The resolution goes on to cite some informative details from the 2000 census, but the only affirmative action defined is for the Code Enforcement Officer to "maintain a dialogue" with several local agencies. The resolution states, year after year, that "the Town has not undertaken a formal study of fair housing problems." We agreed to postpone adoption of the plan until the next regularly scheduled meeting. In the meantime, we'll consult with Henry regarding fair housing problems. We will consider undertaking a study of fair housing issues and consult with Thoma Development regarding possible funding for such a study.

Finally, committee assignments were discussed. Some assignments will depend on the appointment, at the next scheduled meeting, of a councilperson to fill the current vacancy. Meanwhile, I have agreed to serve on the following committees: Highway and Highway Fund Bills committee, Highway and Public Works Committee, Assessment Review Committee, Community Block Grant review committee, Representative to the Planning Committee and Representative to the Conservation Committee.

In addition, we discussed the formation of a new committee to look in to issues surrounding cable, internet and wireless phone access technology. That committee will include Marty Christofferson and myself.



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