It’s a matter of minutes.
So said the Lewiston Town Board, with regard to the time frame allotted to public comments.
And some residents attending Monday’s meeting weren’t exactly too thrilled about it.
At Town of Lewiston meetings, as in most government sessions, residents are provided a certain time frame to express their comments on town/government affairs. Most provide for a limited time at the beginning of a meeting, some allow for timed comments at both the beginning and the end, while still others allow for a much more open-ended comment period.
“Two-minute statements from the residents please,” began Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Broderick. “Come to the mic, state your name, and approximately two minutes.”
And so it began.
“Very disappointed residents are allowed only two minutes, once a month. Because of that, only 24 minutes a year. The county legislature, they let you speak twice. Niagara-Wheatfield School Board let you speak twice, beginning and end,” she said. “So I haven’t figured out what the problem is, with this two minutes, once. Whether you think it’s going to last too long. You don’t tape it anymore. … I’m an open government crusader and I hope you change it.”
That statement was met with applause.
Commenting on the public comments issue, the Alliance later issued the following statement:
“The purpose of (a) resident’s statement during a Lewiston meeting is for the Town Board to hear the thoughts of the people they serve. It should be a time where Town Board members receive input and ideas.
“Sadly, what has evolved are Town Board members who have demonstrated they care little about what the residents say and more about how long they say it, as was demonstrated by Mr. Broderick stopping a resident’s remarks because they ran out of time. The people suspect something isn’t right when free discussion is feared by the government.
“The Lewiston Taxpayer’s Accountability and Action Alliance hopes in the future the Lewiston Town Board will not only listen to what residents have to say, but give them the courtesy of finishing.”
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