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The Village News, Bellport's Paperless NewspaperFrom The Editor   

Secret Sewer Meetings?

From The Editor


























June 01, 2014

A Bellport.com source has informed us that the Village Administration plans on holding two private meetings regarding the new sewer system proposals being considered by the Administration. The Mayor and all four Trustees may attend, but there’s no mention of the meetings on the Village’s website and it seems the Administration doesn’t plan on notifying the public that the meetings will be taking place. In fact, the Village Attorney, David Moran, has informed the Village Board that in his opinion these two meetings don’t require the publication of Legal Notices even though all five members of the Village Board may attend.

Here’s what bothers me. I’m not a lawyer and all of this may be perfectly legal, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test. In recent months there’s been a lot of discussion regarding how many members of the Village Board can meet in the same place at the same time and not be required to give public notice. In fact, the Village Attorney, David Moran, advised Trustee Terwilliger to take the matter of three or more members of the Board meeting without public notice to the Village’s Ethics Board. He later withdrew this recommendation, but at least initially, he felt these meetings violated the New York State Open Meetings Laws and should not take place. What’s changed? Why can they now all meet regarding an issue that may bankrupt the Village?

Here’s the point. The issue of whether or not the Village should go ahead with a sewer plan, at this time, is a big one. Depending on the plan chosen, it could cost each and every Village resident many thousands of dollars so why do things behind closed doors, even if it is legal to do so? Let the sunshine in. If you’re going to have a meeting, tell everyone. If most of the Village Board will be at the meeting, publish a Legal Notice even if the Board isn’t technically required to do so. What does it hurt? At the very least it would mean there wouldn’t be Editorials like this one.

Now for the meetings which are supposedly “only for people potentially affected.”

  • On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 4pm there will be a meeting with the Landlords and Business Owners in the Community Center located at 4 Bell Street in the Village.

  • On Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 1pm there will be a meeting with “the residents in the proposed first phase,” in the Community Center located at 4 Bell Street in the Village.

If there’s a “proposed first phase” it sure sounds like some decisions have been made by the Village Board. We urge as many Village residents as possible to attend these meetings, invited or not.

    

     

If you have a comment and would like to respond to any of the above, we'd be glad to consider printing your response. Please send your comments to larry@bellport.com.

Sincerely, 

Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick
Editor/Publisher, Bellport.com

 



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