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Town Board rescinds Webcast contract

Supervisor and board discuss at length internal communications

The Bethlehem Town Board has effectively overridden Supervisor Sam Messina's decision to begin Webcasts of board meetings, objecting to its cost and procedure.

The board voted 4-1 in a Wednesday, May 26, meeting, to rescind the contract Messina had signed to purchase equipment and training that would have wired Town Hall's meeting room for Internet broadcast and archiving. Messina dissented, maintaining he was authorized to sign the contract without first bringing it before the board.

Board members, however, railed against the matter as an example of a breakdown in communication at Town Hall.

The tyranny of one is democracy for none, Councilman Mark Hennessey said.

Messina, however, said he felt as if the Town Board was stonewalling him on many issues, including his requests to spend for Town Hall repairs and make repairs to the park's tennis court lights.

"I feel every time I communicate with this board, what I communicate is picked apart," he said. "I've got to get a little cooperation to move this town forward."

Councilman Kyle Kotary " who raised the matter under the "new business" portion of the meeting " said his primary objection to the contract was spending money on a "luxury item" in uncertain economic times.

"Only a few nights ago we were down in Selkirk telling people we don't have money for bridges, sidewalks, sewers and the like," he said, referencing a community forum held on Monday, May 24.

Messina said he authorized the expenditure of $12,800 for equipment purchases and $3,000 for training on Friday, May 21. The money would have come out of a line item in the supervisor's budget for "other contractual services."

Messina said the town would later enter into a $410 per month contract with IQM2 of Ronkonkoma to provide software.

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