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Marilla conservation board loses two members due to resignations

A group of Marilla residents tasked with protecting the town’s rural composition has lost two members due to resignations.

The town’s Conservation Advisory Board, which meets monthly on the second Wednesday, is the second Marilla board in the last year to incur losses. Several new members were added to the Planning Board in 2015 due to departures.

The Town Board accepted the resignations of Sara L. Mochrie and Mary Furman with regret.

“We hope that they can help out the town in the future, when time becomes more available for them,” said Supervisor Earl A. Gingerich Jr.

Mochrie tendered her resignation because of new responsibilities with her job that will limit her free time and prevent her from attending the board’s meetings.

“It’s not fair to the board or the town when someone with more time can participate,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “It was a fun and educational experience to participate, and great to know we have such dedicated people in our town serving to protect its future.”

Furman did not offer a reason in her resignation notice; she simply asked to be removed from the board.

The Town Board filled one of the two vacancies on the conservation board with Judith A. Mehs, who had served as an alternate. Mehs is also the conservation board’s clerk and will continue to serve in that role.

However, a vacancy still exists on the conservation board, which usually maintains an alternate member who can fill in when it’s necessary to reach a quorum.

Councilwoman Julie L. Lathrop said the conservation board generally focuses on land conservation and maintaining the town’s rural composition.

Residents who are interested in serving on the board are asked to contact a Town Board member or the Town Clerk’s Office.

In other town business, a debate over credit cards that began at an April work session resumed Thursday when it came time to decide whether to allow the town supervisor to prepay credit card bills.

Gingerich said that there are times when it’s necessary to pay the bill prior to Town Board approval in order to avoid late charges, explaining that sometimes credit card bills are forwarded to him from various departments on an untimely basis or mail delivery may be too slow. “Sometimes the dates just hit wrong, so I’m asking for (permission), but it’s up to the board,” Gingerich said.

However, Lathrop expressed discomfort with paying a bill before it’s examined.

“If we pay the bill ahead of time and there’s an issue, we can’t challenge anything on there,” Lathrop said, echoing an objection she raised in April along with Councilwoman Deborah J. Beats. “As a board, our job is to audit these things.”

The resolution passed, 3-2, with Lathrop and Beats casting the dissenting votes.