The Marilla Town Board's work session got off to a rocky start Tuesday when Supervisor George Gertz asked Councilman Warren Handley why he held a meeting while Gertz was out of town.
Gertz had canceled the May 22 meeting, but Handley and two other board members decided to hold what they called a caucus to catch up on agenda items.
No votes were taken at the meeting, the media were not notified, and no minutes were kept, but Town Attorney Joel Kratzhalts ruled it was legal, if just barely. He said a single political party can discuss issues both town and political.
The Town Board is all Republican.
Kratzhalts said that if someone were to challenge the meeting, it could be a problem. They could bring a declaratory judgment that a caucus violated the open meetings law, and a court could award expenses and attorney fees to the person suing.
Gertz asked Handley if he had called Councilman Don Darrow about the meeting, and Handley said no, because he believed Darrow was ill. Gertz said he believed the caucus was "sneaky," but Handley told him later that if they had intended to be sneaky, Gertz would never have known about it.
The board got down to business and discussed the flag lot law, cleaning up the wording in the code and a code for future subdivisions in the town.
In the flag lot code, the driveways will be widened from 30 feet to 40, and turnarounds must be provided to allow for emergency vehicles and ambulances. Shared driveways, easements and maintenance will be removed from the code.
The flag lot code must be ready for a public hearing prior to the June 14 board meeting.
Darrow reported that four new benches have been purchased at the Made In America store on Maple Road in Elma and will be placed on the green space across from the Town Hall where a burned-out apartment building stood. Two of the benches were purchased by the Kiwanis Club and will be dedicated to the memory of Councilman Fred Specht and former Supervisor Peter Ziccardi. The other two benches have been donated by the Republican Club and the car show.
Darrow will purchase the brass plaques for each bench.
The board discussed future subdivisions that will need to provide two entrances and two exits to comply with an updated code the board is working on.
Developers will have to put in access roads to connect with current subdivisions that are currently dead-ended temporarily. The board is against divided roads or central malls, as they make it difficult for garbage trucks and plows to maneuver.
The bids for the repainting of the town's water tank will be opened at 11 a.m. June 8 in Town Hall.
The board discussed online training for the Planning and Conservation Advisory boards as part of a four-hour-per-year training requirement. Gertz is against the online training because he thinks it is too easy to circumvent.