YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Yorktown@dailyvoice.com.
To the Editor:
Yorktown's Town Board has imposed a controversial meeting fee and mandated a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy for all civic organizations that meet in Town Hall. This costly insurance burden has placed an obstacle in the path of grassroots community members getting together.
The fee and insurance cost constitutes a virtual tax that has had the chilling effect of discouraging participation in government. That's un-American and doesn't pass the smell test.
Community organizations have been using Town Hall for years without incident. Most can't afford the insurance costs and will be forced to leave. Displaced groups like United Taxpayers of Yorktown have openly criticized Yorktown's Town Board.
Was this an unforeseen consequence of Town Board actions or a means to a political end? Is this meeting fee and insurance requirement just an ill conceived idea or political fallout directed toward community groups that dare to publicly oppose the Town Board's agenda.
Town Attorney Michael McDermott stated the only reason for fees and insurance was to protect Yorktown from lawsuits.
"Town Hall's narrow and lengthy staircases are an accident waiting to happen," McDermott said.
His statement literally places negligence on Town Hall's front steps and opens up a litigious can of worms for Yorktown going forward. "An accident waiting to happen" is not much of a legal defense or campaign slogan.
This raises many questions like: What precautions has the Town Board taken to prevent future accidents in these accident-prone staircases? If Town Hall's staircases are dangerous, is it fair for town employees to work in an unsafe environment? Is it wise to expose taxpayers having business in Town Hall to potential injury ? What's the cost of retrofitting Town Hall's staircases?
That’s a lot of expensive headaches to needlessly ‘evict’ a few civic-minded residents from Town Hall. The Town Board should reconsider its decision. Maybe a second look by non-political eyes will reveal that Town Hall's staircases are actually safe. The Town Board should leave well enough alone and welcome back all community organizations without delay and without charge. #IwantmyYorktownback.