ROTTERDAM — With nearly a dozen committee positions opening up next year, lawmakers are encouraging residents to become active in town government by volunteering.
A total of 11 positions across five town committees will be opening come the new year, including four openings on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, and one and two positions on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, respectively.
Supervisor Mollie Collins, who is encouraging all those interested to apply, said the Town Board has taken steps to raise awareness about the positions, including posting a message to the town’s website advertising the vacancies. The goal, she said, is to be as transparent as possible.
“In trying to be transparent, rather than knowing someone who is on the Town Board and talking to them, we wanted it out in the public so more people would apply,” she said in an interview last week.
Collins, who has repeatedly said she wants residents to become more involved in town government since being seated in January, said that five people have asked to be reappointed and that around eight others have requested to be seated.
The Town Board, which has final say in who will be seated, is expected to fill the vacancies, which open on Jan. 1, next month. Unfilled positions will remain vacant until they can be filled, Collins said.
All positions are volunteer. Among those opening include:
- Planning Commission: one seven-year term.
- Zoning Board of Appeals: two five-year terms.
- Conservation Advisory Council: two two-year terms.
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee: four two-year terms.
- Emergency Medical Board: two one-year term.
In recent months, Town Board meetings have become a hive of activity, with at least a dozen or so residents sitting in to observe happenings and press lawmakers on issues during public comment periods. At times, the meetings have been contentious, eliciting cheers and jeers from the audience, but no one has been escorted out.
Many have remained silent, but others have clashed with lawmakers, particularly on issues pertaining to the now-nullified deal to move town office to ViaPort and plans to borrow $30 million to address long-standing water infrastructure issues over concerns about increased taxes.
More recently, residents flocked to the Town Board to voice support and concerns about an ordinance allowing residents to keep chickens, which was ultimately approved last month.
Concerned citizens have also expressed concerns about a proposed 20-megawatt solar farm along Sandborn Road, and requested lawmakers to adopt a moratorium on solar arrays in order to update existing town law in light of a proposed comprehensive plan that calls for preserving forested land.
Both the moratorium and comprehensive plan are expected to be adopted by lawmakers during Wednesday’s Town Board meeting.
Collins said she’s happy to see residents expressing their concerns, which she said is pivotal in the Town Board doing its job, and hopes people continue to make their voices heard by volunteering for one of the vacancies.
“Sometimes people think there’s nothing they can do about government. You know that old saying that you can’t fight city hall?” Collins said. “But you can, and that’s been one of our messages that we want to get to the people.”
Rotterdam residents interested in being appointed to one of the vacant committee positions should submit a letter of interest by emailing: [email protected]. Letters can be dropped off at the supervisor’s office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Town Hall, 1100 Sunrise Blvd.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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