August 16,2018 Official Town Board Meeting

Once again there is no sound on the televised presentation which was to have been aired on channel 22, so those residents without computer access are no longer served by a visual record of the meeting. (The Town Board has radically reduced the ability of citizens to access their official conversation, understand their priorities, and hear their goals, yet when I pointed out that without access to all of their official deliberations, with the exception of executive sessions, the Town’s people could not hold the Board accountable for its actions or make meaningful comments on the budget, Ms. Maas interrupted me during my speaking time allotment. Anne).

The best way to get a sense of what was done is to go to the Union Vale Town page and go to the bottom and watch the YouTube of the last official meeting. This YouTube version has sound.

Watching and/or going to the Town Board meeting is time consuming, often tedious, but always revealing. Watch the topics and the tone and ask yourself questions. See if you can find answers.

The big topic this week is the resolution to reinstate the position of Tax Collector in Union Vale.

The only member of the Board to question the introductory comments included with the resolution to reinstitute the position of taxpayer was Ms. Kelley who objected to the use of terms which could not be backed by evidence on a town wide basis. Ms. Kelley’s objections were brushed aside.

  Mr. Welsh made no objections and voted for the resolution to reinstate the position although in the January 18, 2018 meeting of the Town Board, Mr. Welsh questioned why the experiment with Saturday tax collecting would continue until June since after May the taxes went to the County, and then later reminded people at the meeting that ” a lot of this can be done by mail.”

Further the proposition to reinstate the office says that “it has been confirmed that there are no financial hours of service or performance advantages gained by transferring these duties to the Town Clerk Office.”  The financial hours of service did in fact cost $500.00 more during Ms. Maas’ experiment because she insisted on having hours for the Tax Collector every Saturday. As to “financial hours of service gained” then, we have no way to measure because Ms. Maas added hours to the part time position, in fact making the part time position more expensive. So it was no surprise that with the additional 1,500 spent on Saturday hours that the Town had no financial advantage. And since the Tax Collector cannot adjust taxes but merely receive them, and since the position of tax collector has been fully insured by the Town, there appears to be no reason to burden the Town of Union Vale with a $7.000 a year job plus insurance and retirement benefits. This does not seem like good sense. But it is in keeping with Ms. Maas’s attempt at the work meeting of July 10 to make a full time position start at 32 or 35 hours instead of the current 40. This change would be accompanied by benefits which have cost to the town. In the case of employees which are necessary, I have no issue with this since I believe all employees should be paid well for doing a fine job. But elected officials are another category entirely. Officials of towns, counties, states, and countries should, in my opinion, serve the public. Service is an honor and one that people actually have to run to be selected for (although in this town being appointed by the same party already in office does seem to be the route). My question is : is it possible that this whole reinstatement of the tax collector position is merely a way to make a job for SOMEONE who has already been selected by Ms. Maas and the Board majority?

Please watch the YouTube tape found on the Town Board website: at the bottom of the page. Let me know what you think. Thanks,Anne

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