BETHLEHEM The Bethlehem Town Board on Wednesday, Feb. 8, appointed members to its three newly formed citizen advisory committees and gave each group its official charge.
Some board members previously expressed reservations about having the Governance Options Committee investigate splitting the town into wards. However, all said they would keep an open mind concerning the committee’s findings.
“I think it’s an interesting idea and one that should be looked at,” said Supervisor John Clarkson, previously explaining the notion had come from residents he met during his campaign who felt underrepresented.
The Governance Committee will present its findings in June and will research governance options within the town, including a “regional or ward system for Town Board members, term lengths for supervisor or board and other options, including any updates on the 20/20 governance options previously presented.”
On the recommendation of Councilwoman Joann Dawson, the Budget Advisory Committee will start meeting this month and continue into 2013 to help with the budget process. Dawson was not at the Wednesday meeting because of a family matter.
The Budget Advisory Committee will help evaluate specific budget issues and help the comptroller form a multi-year financial plan and a capital investment and financing plan. It will also help to develop a policy to “guide use of reserves and maintenance of fund balances.”
“We really have an extraordinary group on all three committees,” Clarkson said.
The town’s Ethics Committee had been previously created, but is being reinstated under Clarkson’s administration. It will work to update the current Ethics Code and Board using the state comptroller’s Model Ethics Policy as a “starting point.” It is to complete its work by April.
Other committees to be discussed in the future include an Economic Development Committee and a Comprehensive Plan Assessment Committee.
Upon a prior request from Dawson, the board noted that all previously formed citizens’ advisory committees have been disbanded, except for the PaTHs4 Bethlehem Committee. On March 12, that group will be presenting information on sustainability initiatives and new bike paths to improve the use of roads for pedestrians and bikers. The group will eventually be seeking two new members.