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Letter To The Editor: Meeting Changes Hurt Yorktown Residents

Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace has suggested a change in rules during town meetings whereby has residents would speak at the end of the meeting, instead of the beginning and end.
Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace has suggested a change in rules during town meetings whereby has residents would speak at the end of the meeting, instead of the beginning and end. Photo Credit: Yorktown.org

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email yorktowndailyvoice.com .

To the Editor:

At last week's Yorktown Town Board meeting it was announced that residents must now wait until the end of the meetings for their three minutes to address the board and that would be the only opportunity they would have to do so.

In the past, Yorktown had scheduled two sessions, one at the beginning of the meeting and one at the end. Supervisor Michael Grace stated that board meetings were for the conduct of town business and that it was unfair for lawyers and other professionals who were being paid up to $400 an hour to have to wait to address the board until after residents spoke.

Let me remind the town, the concerns of town residents are town business. If these sessions didn’t turn into a dialogue (much of which comes from the supervisor) it would not take up that much time – 10 speakers X 3 minutes = a half hour.

The original format worked: Speaker had no more than three minutes of "uninterrupted" time at the beginning of the meeting. After all speakers had talked, the board responded to their issues. Speakers had a second opportunity to rebut the board’s response at the end of the meeting.

Perhaps if the supervisor’s remarks, too, were limited to three minutes, these sessions would consume a reasonable amount of time.

If the board fails to respond or misunderstands the resident’s question, there is no opportunity for the resident to speak until the next board meeting -- again after waiting another two or three hours. Why not retain the one session at the beginning of the meeting and simply schedule the lawyers and developers for 8:30 p.m.instead of 7:30 p.m., so that the "$400 an hour" need not be paid. For those residents desiring to respond to the board’s remarks, the second session could be held, as it was in the past, at the end of the meeting.

Don Roberts, United Taxpayers of Yorktown

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