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Boston to hold information meeting about constitutional rights and SAFE Act

BY: Matt Sargeant | February 15, 2013

BOSTON — Boston Councilman Jay Boardway continued his pursuit against the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, when he and his fellow Boston Town Board members met, on Feb. 6.

“I’ve been involved very much, over the past few weeks, since the SAFE New York Act has been passed by Albany, in corresponding with the various supervisors and councils and board members in the other towns and municipalities in Erie County,” Boardway said during his report. “There is an association of Erie County governments; our town is a member of that association. I’ve kind of been the contact person of that association, for a while.”

According to Boardway, the Association of Erie County Governments is currently putting together a joint resolution regarding the recent gun control legislation, although he said that the disagreement stems to something more fundamental than gun use.

“It’s amazing to me how strongly most folks feel on this issue, that the entire process of the passing of the gun control legislation in New York state was just a pure violation of essentially due process of the mandates that are imposed upon the New York state Assembly and Senate leaders by our Constitution and they just threw it all out; threw it in the wind. Just ignored it,” Boardway said.

The Erie County association has created a draft resolution, which Boardway said he would like to bring, before the Boston Town Board, during its next meeting.

“The association of towns is recommending that public hearings or informational hearings be held, to allow the citizenship, the folks in the town, to actually be heard, on this exact issue,” he said. “It’s not even so much an issue of ‘They’re going to make me now put only seven bullets in my gun’ or ‘They’re going to call some of the rifles I have assault weapons.’ It’s more of an issue of ‘They just trampled on our civil rights.’ They trampled on our Second Amendment rights.”

The board member said that, in his opinion, boundaries were overstepped, in the creation of the New York SAFE Act. “We try not to do this. We are your first line of government here, sitting in this room, the five of us,” he said. “This is where it starts. This is the grassroots.”

Boardway proposed that the Boston Town Board add an informational hearing about this item, onto its agenda, as soon as possible.

Town Clerk Jennifer Mule’ suggested that this be scheduled for March 6 at 7:40 p.m., in order to properly inform the public. The board members agreed to that arrangement. “What this will do is just give the opportunity for folks that want to be heard strictly on this issue to be heard if they’d like, at which point in time there will be a resolution, more than likely presented by myself, for a vote on this board,” Boardway added.

The councilman clarified that this will be an informational hearing. “This is not a public hearing, in the sense that we need a public hearing to pass a local law,” Boardway said. “It’s simply an informational hearing, but I would like it to be incorporated into our meeting.”

Board Member Gary Vara said, “I’m completely agreeing with [Boardway] on the gun law that should not have been passed. I have two son-in-laws that are in law enforcement and it just overstepped the bounds.”

In other board matters:
– The board reached a consensus to appoint Anthony Zeniuk as the town’s recreation director, taking over for Bonnie Clesse, whose retirement officially took effect on Dec. 31. “For a little more than a year now, everyone has had the grand impression that [the board members] can’t work together,” Boardway said. “That’s not true and the appointment of the recreation director is proof of that. We were divided, right down the middle, and we talked it out, we worked it out and made a decision tonight. So, my fellow councilmen deserve the credit for that and I’m glad that was able to occur.”

Supervisor Martin Ballowe was excused from this process, because of a conflict of interest. “I do want to make it perfectly clear: Supervisor Ballowe had recused himself from this entire process. This recusal took place, back well over a month ago, when the application for Mr. Zeniuk was presented to the board,” Boardway said. “There was a relationship there, which Supervisor Ballowe disclosed to the board, and he immediately recused himself. So the supervisor did not take part in any of the interviews, did not take part in any of the discussions tonight; in fact, excused himself from our meeting downstairs this evening, when the final decision was made.”

The recreation director’s salary was agreed upon at $15,680 for 2013 and will be prorated between Clesse and Zeniuk. “Clesse graciously stayed on board with us,” said Boardway. “She officially retired ... but has been integral in this process, over the last 6 weeks, in both assisting us in the interview process, taking part in all the interviews and in starting some of the preliminary work that needs to be done for 2013.”

– “We’ve had a lot of residents ask about being able to pay their taxes online or with a credit card,” Mule’ said. “We did have that, in the past. It did not work out so well, so I’ve been researching it and have found a company called MuniciPAY, Nationwide Payment Solutions. It’s currently being used in the town of Hamburg and the town of West Seneca, and [the company does] very good business, with [these towns, who] have no issues or problems.

Mule’ said that she would like to add this payment solution to the town’s website, in order to allow residents the option to pay their taxes with credit cards. “The one issue is that any fees that are incurred will be paid by the resident and not the town.” That fee is approximately 2.45 percent of the total transaction, or a $3 minimum payment.

“If it is an electronic check, the minimum is $1.50, just so everyone knows that it is not a fee that will be paid by the town whatsoever, or by any tax dollars,” Mule’ said. “It is a convenience for our residents, only. If the residents feel they want to pay that extra fee, then they can pay that. It’s not put on the town whatsoever. So that option will be there at some point, when I can pull it all together. A link will be added to our online tax service and, if a resident comes in, they can also pay it my office with a credit card.

– The appointments of the following individuals to the Boston Emergency Squad were approved by the town board: Jacob Ingoldsby, Alyssa Mandiak, Matthew Schwanz, Nicholas Yonkosky and Brittany Wells.

– The board awarded a bid for Water District No. 3 to Mark Adamchick CPA, at $1,350. The other bid was for the range of $2,100 – $2,400, from Toski & Company PC. The bid is for an audit service for the water district, which must be audited each year, as required by New York state.

– Having already received the information from the Boston Fire Company for its yearly service award program points, the board approved the numbers, for that fire company. “I have verified this [information] this evening, reviewed it with the town board of their 65 active firefighters in the fire company at this point in time,” Boardway said. “Twenty-five of them qualify for service award points in 2012.”

– Councilman Jeff Genzel reported that he has received and forwarded the maps of Back Creek Road from the Erie County Water Authority. “[The gap in water coverage] is about 2,000 feet long,” he said. “It’s a pretty big gap. It affects probably nine parcels. I will be forwarding these maps onto the parties that were interested in here and they’ll have to continue on with their quest to try and get water to that area.” Genzel also reported that the Keller Road Waterline Stabilization Project has been put on hold, due to inclement weather.

– Sharon Bulger was appointed as the town’s nutrition assistant, at a salary of $10.15, per hour, effective immediately.

– Jeffery Szudzik was approved for reappointment to the Boston Conservation Advisory Council. His term was scheduled to expire on March 1. “As we all begin the new year, I look forward to the chance to once again take part in the varied projects which the CAC will be organizing for the benefit of the town,” he said.

– Genzel made the first donation toward the town’s fireworks fund of $500. “Please donate if you can,” he said.

The next Boston Town Board meeting will be held at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston, on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

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