The Yorktown Town Board imposed a controversial meeting fee plus required a $1 million liability insurance policy for all civic organizations meeting at town hall. This costly insurance burden places an obstacle in the path of grassroots community members meeting. The fee and insurance cost constitutes a virtual tax that had the chilling effect of discouraging participation in government That’s un-American and doesn’t pass the smell test. Community organizations have been using town hall for years without incident. Most can’t afford the insurance costs and will be forced out. Displaced groups like United Taxpayers of Yorktown have openly criticized Yorktown’s town board.
Was this an unforeseen consequence of the town board actions or a means to a political end? I hope that this meeting fee and insurance requirement was just an ill conceived idea and not political fallout directed toward community groups that publicly opposed the town board’s agenda.
Town Attorney Michael McDermott stated the only reason for fees/insurance was to protect Yorktown from lawsuits. McDermott stated, “Town hall’s narrow and lengthy staircases are an accident waiting to happen.” This statement literally places negligence on town hall’s front steps and opens up a litigious can of worms. “An accident waiting to happen” isn’t much of a legal defense or campaign slogan.
These are costly headaches to “evict” a few civic-minded residents from town hall. The town board should reconsider and welcome back all community groups without delay and without charge. #IwantmyYorktownback
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