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Town board member asks to postpone vote

UPDATED, 6/4/10 Rotterdam town board member Nicola DiLeva has asked for the upcoming June 29 vote for a new taxing district to be postponed to give resident time to understand the purpose of the tax district.

In an email to town board members and town supervisor Frank Del Gallo on Thursday, June 3, DiLeva asked the town board to table the upcoming vote for a number of reasons including the scheduling of only one polling place during the vote, the lack of absentee ballots and that residents are unsure what they are voting on with the creation of the district.

\I think the residents need to know more about the details about the vote, said DiLeva. "The residents need to know what they are exactly voting on."

Board member Gerard Parisi shares the same concerns as DiLeva and would like to see the public have a fair vote and would like to see the residents of Rotterdam have the ability to vote as an absentee if possible.

"Let the public have a full and fair vote," said Parisi. "These people are expecting to vote and not given the chance. That's not Democracy."

DiLeva, in a Friday, June 4 email, said that if the vote cannot be legally postponed to November that she would like to see the vote on the same day as the Republican primary in September, allowing time for the creation of absentee ballots and allow more than on polling places.

Rotterdam assistant town attorney Michael Godlewski said that it would be a "logistical nightmare" for the town to run the ambulance district vote at the same time as the primary vote because of the two different voting groups for each election. For the tax district vote, only property voters will be able to vote and for the primary vote the election would be open for every resident in the town. In regards to the use of absentee ballots, since the town has not held a pre-registration for the vote, they cannot legally use absentee ballots in the district election. Godlewski said the town could still use absentee ballots, but if the vote was close and came down to the absentee ballots, the whole election could be thrown out.

"There are no efforts on behalf of the town attorney's office or the town board to disenfranchise the voters," he said.

The creation of Rotterdam Ambulance Service District No.1 would help to fund Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services, Inc., the basic life support provider for the Town of Rotterdam. The proposed tax rate is 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. If passed the district would be implemented on Jan. 1, 2011.""

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