According to the article, on February 6, 2007 the town, school and county passed a resolution, and I quote from the Observer Dispatch article:
Well isn't that special! I wonder how they did that. You see, according to the Open Meetings Law:
"The three taxing authorities — the county, town and New Hartford Central School District — passed a resolution Feb. 6 to approve a cost-sharing agreement to pay for outside legal counsel to help them understand the issue better."
I do believe that passing a resolution on a cost-sharing agreement is "appropriating public moneys". Was this meeting posted and/or published so that the public could attend? Executive meetings must be voted on by the majority of board members in an open meeting. What was the urgency that they had to call a Special Meeting in the first place? The regular town board meeting was scheduled for the following day, February 7, 2006. In fact, they supposedly went into executive session that evening to discuss Preswick. So what were they discussing in the executive session on February 7th?
§105. Conduct of executive sessions. 1. Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a public body may conduct an executive session for the below enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys..."
Did the Town Clerk attend the February 6th meeting and were minutes taken at the February 6th meeting? What amount of money has been allocated to pay this attorney? Can we see a copy of the resolution that was passed on February 6th?
And in the same article our Town Supervisor Earle Reed said, "We are optimistic" "We can work things out in good spirit." Well, Mr. Reed, how about just doing what the law says to do. Either they are tax exempt or they are not--no deals behind closed doors! How about holding a public meeting or two regarding Preswick like was promised to New Hartford residents over a year ago?
It seems to me that since we are paying our town attorney $150 an hour he should spend some of his time informing the town board how to conduct a legal meeting! This town board is continually setting their own ground rules and going against the Open Meetings Law. Town of New Hartford residents should be outraged!
And where is the Observer Dispatch--why aren't they reporting on some of these shenanigans?