Just as we reported earlier this week, according to today's Observer Dispatch, the New Hartford Town Board will only have a town board meeting once a month for 2007. Of course, they can always call "special" meetings in between that you and I may know nothing about.
Not one of our elected officials had a problem with the new meeting schedule or the appearance of closing residents out of town government. The only remark was by one councilman who said "I hope that we won't have any special meetings between Thursday and Sunday".
Imagine if they voted on the bond resolutions totaling about $5 million in a "special meeting", we might not have known a thing about it unless we caught the legal notice in the paper. The vote to be held on January 16, 2007 was not the town board's choice--they chose to not seek resident input. The vote is the result of almost 600 signatures being collected because residents do want a say in the borrowing of $5 million.
Special meetings only have to be posted in Butler Hall on the bulletin board outside the Town Clerk's office--the Observer Dispatch doesn't even really need to be notified. Special Meetings can be called any day of the week and at any time of the day. They only need 3 board members in attendance to conduct business and vote on resolutions.
We will be watching and I hope that if the need arises to have a "special" meeting, the town board will see to it that the Observer Dispatch receives a timely notice so that the public can be informed and can attend if they so choose. To do anything less is just plain wrong!