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Cheektowaga turns clock back online

One of the first acts of the first Cheektowaga Town Board in 1839 was to ban horses and hogs from running "on the common.

It won't be too long before the world can access that and other official actions on line. Agendas and minutes from Town Board meetings went on-line this week, and the goal of the town clerk is to place the minutes from every meeting into the cyber world.

Residents can view the full agenda of upcoming meetings by going to the town's web site, www.tocny.org, and clicking on the Town Clerk Program. The town web site links to TownClerk.com, which for now includes records from Jan. 1.

Town Clerk Mary Holtz envisions placing all 167 years of Town Board minutes on the web site. That way, someone could search for the name of an ancestor and possibly find the person served on the Town Board or had some business with the town, she said.

"As a historian and town clerk I'm very excited," she said.

She said the past 10 years of meeting minutes are ready to be transferred to the web site, and minutes older than that can be scanned and then placed on the web site. And for the past 15 to 20 years, she has had part-time summer help retyping hand-written minutes from years ago.

Holtz, who also is town historian, said she had a belief 20 years ago that if the hand-written minutes could be typed, they might be in a form that would be usable for the public.

"I had no concept of the Internet then," she said.

But now, she will be able to put the minutes from 1839 to about 1930 on the web site. And then anyone can learn that the first Town Board also resolved that fences shall be five feet high, and the "fence viewers" be paid 75 cents per day for their services.

Perusers of the agendas and minutes can use keywords to search for items, making it easy to find specific items quickly, she said.

"All the minutes are on microfilm," said Records Manager Lisa-Marie Bolognese. "Whatever we have that is not on-line is available for the public to view."

The program was funded with about $12,000 in grants in 2004 from Erie County Legislators Raymond Dusza, D-Cheektowaga, Timothy M. Wroblewski, D-West Seneca, and Elise M. Cusack, R-Amherst.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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