The on-again, off-again discussion to change word definitions in the Town Code is on-again.
Councilwoman BJ Ianfolla said there’s “urgency” to get this done. Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. has described the process as simply an effort to streamline the Town Code, which has multiple and sometimes conflicting definitions for various words.
But at a recent public hearing, a number of residents said the new definitions would be more than semantics. Definitions could change zoning and other parts of the Town Code and noted that residents need more time to examine them and provide input.
At Tuesday’s work session, there was a proposal to seek opinions from the public until Jan. 15. But resident Kathleen Lynch asked for more time, pointing out that the holidays were here and many people wouldn’t have time to review and comment on the definitions by the stated date.
The discussion seemed to go in circles for a bit until Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams intervened, noting that no decisions are to be made by Jan. 15, and there would be other opportunities for the public to make comments at work sessions prior to Jan. 28.
That’s when the Town Board would set a date for a new public hearing on revisions to the definitions. That public hearing wouldn’t take place until sometime in February and, depending on input at that time, could be voted on then or go back to the Town Board for further discussion before a vote.
Mr. DeStefano also pointed out that even if the Town Board endorsed new definitions, the issue could always be reopened by anyone who had other ideas.
“The 15th is the start, it’s not the end,” Ms. Ianfolla said.
What to do about a vacancy in the Assessors office resulting from Craig Wood’s sudden resignation was on the table.
Ms. Ianfolla, a former assessor, said she had spoken to the two remaining assessors who believe this isn’t the time to be training someone new. They believe they can handle the work they have for several months.
However, a discussion will have to take place to increase their salaries since they will have to work more during that period, the councilwoman said.
At the same time, the practice of reassessing all properties every year doesn’t have to take place by law, Ms. Ianfolla said. The Town could use the same assessments that were used last year, she said.
And if more temporary help is needed prior to a permanent selection or election of a new assessor, there are a couple of experienced people willing to give some hours as consultants, she said.