Dec 13, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Beginning with the March 2012 local elections, village trustees and the village mayor will be elected to four-year terms of office instead of the current two-year terms, with elections to be held biennially in odd-numbered years.
Local Law No. 4 of 2011 — Relating to the Terms of Office of Mayor and Trustees and Biennial Elections, was approved unanimously by the village board of trustees at its Dec. 8 meeting. The change was a reaction partly to the increased election costs due to electronic voting machines and partly to the idea that two-year officials should not sign four-year union contracts and possibly pass the contracts on to a different board.
The approval vote came after the board held a public hearing on the law during which only one resident commented.
That resident, former village trustee Alan Dolmatch, suggested that trustee terms should be four years but mayoral terms should remain two years because voter turnout is higher when a mayor is being elected, especially if the race is contested.
Trustee Marc Angellilo disagreed, stating that a four-year term for mayor would create “stability and consistency” in the position. All three of the other trustees — John Cromp, Mary Sennett and Sue Jones — agreed with that opinion.
“One of my great concerns is to get people involved in community service and willing to run for office, and [low voter turnout] is a travesty,” Sennett said in reference to Dolmatch’s argument. “However, I side with Marc — for the mayor we need the longevity and stability with a four year term.”
After the vote, Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne reminded the board that the law is subject to a 30-day permissive referendum before it can be finalized. If a resident circulated a petition and received the signatures of 20 percent of registered voters (389 names), then the law would have to be approved in a public referendum vote.
The new law will not affect any incumbent officers’ terms, only those officials elected after the law takes effect. The first election affected will be in March 2012, when board seats currently held by Trustees Jones and Cromp are up for election.
Mayor Hubbard and Trustees Angellilo and Sennett, who were elected to two-year terms in 2011, would still have to run for reelection in 2013.
A copy of local law No. 4 is available on the village website.
Also at the meeting:
—The village has signed a tentative two-year contract agreement with the police union, Local 195, that includes no wage increases during the contract, allows new hires to contribute 20 percent to health insurance costs and allows full-time officers to volunteer to work extra hours on straight-time pay. “It was a very good session; we actually got things done,” said Trustee Marc Angelillo, who reported on the contract. The tentative agreement will be included into the new police contract, he said.
“This is good for management as well as for labor,” said Village Police Chief Lloyd Perkins. “The contract negotiations went very well.”
The village board unanimously agreed to accept the tentative agreement.
—The board offered a statement of appreciation for Vicki Bickel, of Elbridge, who for the second consecutive year created the gingerbread dollhouse currently displayed in the village office window.
—Village Police Chief Lloyd Perkins informed the board that parking in the Fennell Street public lot has become unrestrained in where people park their cars, blocking other cars in, and has become a particular problem for the U.S. Postal Service whose loading dock gets blocked off. Perkins suggested the placement of barricades at certain points in the lot to better regulate the parking situation, to which the trustees agreed. As of press time, the barricades had already been erected in the Fennell Street lot. A complete restriping of the lot still is planned for spring 2012.
—Village Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowicz said leaf pickup has been completed throughout the village and all fire hydrants have been winterized. He recently sent out the letter of award to Koester Associates of Canastota for their successful bid to replace the three Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs, at the wastewater treatment plant.
—The two Skaneateles Rotary clubs have raised the $2,550 necessary to replace the old stone water fountain by the Clift Park gazebo with a new cast-iron fountain like the one in Shotwell Park near the village flagpole, Mayor Marty Hubbard informed the board. “That’s about what the fountain will cost, and our people can install it in the spring,” Hubbard said.
The stone fountain was donated to the village by the Skaneateles Rotary Club in 1983. It is now deteriorating due to age, and it also is not wheelchair accessible, as is the two-level cast-iron fountain in Shotwell Park, which was built about ten years ago.
This past August, the village trustees voted to formally support the two Rotary clubs’ efforts to raise the necessary funds and agreed to cover the installation cost of the project.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.