SENECA FALLS — The Town Board took steps Wednesday to move away from having a town attorney toward contracting for legal services on an hourly basis.
The term of current Town Attorney David Foster of Geneva expires Dec. 31.
Board member Doug Avery said Foster has a two-year term as town attorney. Unless steps are taken to eliminate the position, and Foster remains into January, the town may be obligated to keep the position for another two years.
A motion to terminate the town attorney position as of Dec. 31 was approved by a 4-1 vote; Supervisor Greg Lazzaro voted no. In a related move, the board voted to issue a Request For Proposals (RFPs) for legal services from a law firm or an individual lawyer to work on an hourly rate on a part-time basis. The proposals are due Dec. 2.
The board also opened RFPs submitted for grant writing services in 2020. Proposals were received from Millenium Strategies of Morristown, N.J.; RGM Grant Consulting and Grant Writing Services of Sanborn, Niagara County; Municipal Grant Consultants of Ithaca; J. O’Connell Associates of Clarence, Erie County; MRB Group of Rochester; and Municipal Consultants and Grant Writing of Spencerport.
Lazzaro named Avery, board member David DeLelys and incoming supervisor Mike Ferrara as a committee to review the proposals and make a recommendation.
The board also agreed to again seek bids for three surplus town properties: the former Village Hall at 60 State St., the former municipal building at 10 Fall St. and a condominium unit in the Partridge Building on Fall Street downtown. Bidders have 30 days to submit a bid.
In other action, the board:
• VACATION RENTALS — After debate, decided not to consider a moratorium on short-term vacation rentals in response to complaints about rowdy behavior, fireworks and other disruptions by some vacationers. A few property owners who lease homes as vacation rentals urged caution and offered to work with the town to devise regulations all can agree upon.
• DOOR WINDOWS — Saw board member Lou Ferrara take issue with a portion of a report from Information Technology Director Marshall Foster over windows on interior doors. Lazzaro said that discussion should take place in executive session and made a motion to that effect.
However, it was not seconded. Ferrara and Lazzaro argued for several minutes, with Ferrara saying it was a safety issue and not about an individual. Lazzaro claimed Ferrara acted as deputy supervisor without first consulting with him. The debate spread to involve Foster defending himself and Police Chief Stu Peenstra. At one point Peenstra told Lazzaro not to question his integrity.
Mike Ferrara urged the board to move on and stop arguing.
• HISTORIC DISTRICT — Voted 4-1 to reaffirm the town’s historic district boundaries and historic district law for submission to the State Historic Preservation Office for certification. Lazzaro voted no.
• COMMAND STAFF — Voted 4-1 to recognize the Seneca Falls Command Staff Association as a collective bargaining unit, representing the police chief and the lieutenant. Lazzaro voted no.