"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever
Following are the recommendations of Jerry Ravnitzky to the incoming town board. They represent Mr. Ravnitzky's own views.
1. All elected and appointed officials and town employees should adhere to honest and open government.
2. During meetings, and in their announcements, the town board and the various town boards and committees should make an effort to explain the issues that are discussed so the average citizen can understand them. Secrecy or unnecessary shorthand in discussing or conducting town business should not be tolerated.
3. All proceedings of the town board and other official boards and committees should be audible and intelligible to the audience in attendance and viewers on cable TV.
4. The town should post online official minutes of meetings of the town board.
5. Official minutes should be kept of all town board work sessions and executive sessions.
6. The town should place its municipal ordinances online as soon as possible so people can see their laws.
7. The town and planning boards should not schedule simultaneous town board work sessions and planning board meetings.
8. A full explanation of topics to be discussed during executive sessions should be provided to the people attending meetings and to the TV viewers, in accordance with state law. The board members should restrict themselves to those topics during the executive session.
9. The town board should make appointments on the basis of expertise and experience as much as possible, instead of on the basis of political connections.
10. The town board should agree to meet with the Cable TV Advisory Committee as soon as possible to discuss the proposed mission statement previously sent to the former supervisor by the committee.
11. The town board should work with the cable company to facilitate the launching of the town government channel 95. There should be adequate publicity regarding scheduling of playbacks, including posting an announcement on the town government website and notices to the local newspapers.
12. A grave injustice done to a member of the Environmental Conservation Board some months ago should be corrected by offering him the next available appointment. Board members should not be replaced for doing their jobs honestly and competently.
13. The planning and zoning boards should treat all applicants equally and fairly without influence or favoritism.
14. The town board, planning board and zoning board should fairly and strictly enforce town zoning laws.
15. The town board should cooperate with federal and state law enforcement and auditing authorities who may decide to investigate possible violation of state and local laws or improper financial procedures.
16. The town should provide a detailed accounting of its legal expenses.
17. A moratorium should be placed on senior housing until the loopholes in the current law can be corrected.
18. The town should arrange for a survey to be taken to determine how many senior citizens in town will be seeking senior housing, affordable or otherwise.
19. Town officials should set as a priority attracting businesses that can provide a living wage to employees. Senior housing developments should not divert all of the available town water and sewer capacity, thereby curtailing such businesses.
20. At town board meetings, the board should allow comments from the public about agenda and non-agenda items. Input from the public should be encouraged.
21. The town board should seriously consider the impact of town board decisions on school budgets.
22. When evaluating the need for ballfields and other recreational facilities, the town board should consider the cost of construction at the proposed sites and what the town can afford. The board should also consider the impact of long-term bond repayment on the tax rate.
23. Environmental issues should be seriously addressed by the town board. Wetlands are being destroyed, wells are being depleted and contaminated, run-off from roads is polluting our lakes and reservoirs, and houses are being built on steep slopes.
24. The town board should appoint an open space committee to identify land that should be preserved as open space, and to make recommendations for funding the purchase of open spaces. Cooperative efforts with the county and nearby towns should be fostered.
25. The town board should provide adequate support for police, fire, library and other municipal services.
26. The board should follow New York City’s lead in establishing campaign finance ordinances that limit election campaign contributions from municipal contractors.
Dated: January 4, 2006