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Fenner reduces number of members on board of assessment review

— The Fenner Town Board unanimously approved a new local law at its Aug. 14 meeting reducing the number of members of the town’s Board of Assessment Review from five to four. The action was part of a larger plan by the town board to reduce the total number of BAR members to three by October 2014.

Fenner is the only town in the county whose board of assessment review has five members, and there are currently two vacancies. During the town board’s July meeting, Town Supervisor Russ Carey suggested that the town board reduce the size of the board of assessment review from five to three. Under the law, however, the town cannot simply reduce the number of seats but must wait until a member’s term of office expires and then remove the seat from the board.

Because one of the board of assessment review’s seats expires next month, Town Attorney Jim Stokes drafted a resolution to reduce the size of the board of assessment review to four members. The public hearing on the proposed law during the Aug. 14 meeting had only one public comment, which asked how the four-member BAR would get a quorum for its meeting. Carey said three members would need to be present for a quorum, and since there are currently only three members on the board, everyone must be present for the board to hold a meeting.

Cary said the town is currently seeking a fourth member for the BAR to fill the remainder of an unexpired term that ends Sept. 30, 2014. Anyone interested in joining the board of assessment review can call the town office for more information at 655-2705.

Also at the meeting, the board heard from Stokes that the fate of the Christenson building at the corner of Nelson and Peterboro roads, which the town board has been discussing for three months, is still unresolved. The building was constructed without a permit more than a decade ago, and this past May its owner Jim Christenson applied for a variance. Since then, the board has been working with Christenson to resolve the situation, whether by removing the building or adding stipulations about the future use of the building.

Stokes said Christenson will be sending a letter to the town board explaining his position before the board’s next meeting in September and he asked that the board defer any action on the issue until that time. The board agreed to hold off on the issue until September.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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