Village looks to adjust how election polls are staffed

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:47

    Warwick - Village of Warwick clerk Jo-Ann Rome has requested that election hours be shortened by three hours. The notion is part of an effort to get more residents to volunteer as election inspectors. The polls in the village now open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.; the clerk is requesting that polls open at 9 a.m. instead. Insofar as the clerk currently uses election inspectors for a full day rather than in shifts, the board appeared more interested in trying a change in the current process than in curtailing the hours commuters may vote. “We open them early to accommodate commuters,” Rome said. The day actually begins at 5 a.m. when the clerk arrives to start the voting machines. Rome noted that most election inspectors are senior citizens so the 15-hour day makes for “a very long day for old people.” The requested change in voting times would save $180. The village pays six election inspectors $10 per hour. The village is one of the few remaining holdouts on shortening election poll hours. Next steps include seeking guidance from the Orange County Board of Elections about splitting the day into shifts. Raising chickens Audrey Lynn Reith, extension educator in the Cornell University Animal Science Department and based at the extension office in Middletown presented a pilot program for chickens for the Village of Warwick. In response to a request on May 16 by Raphael Cox, the board is conducting its due diligence. This is important because Cox’s request raises concerns about public health and noise. “This is a case where cleanliness is next to godliness,” said Reith. In addition to keeping a hygienic chicken coup and run, the Cox’s home at 63 South Street abuts Wawayanda Creek. “We’ll respect that waterway,” said Reith. While considering a pilot program for poultry that abuts the water, the village has undertaken a yearlong study of Wawayanda Creek; chicken facilities must be set back 30 feet from waterways. The local law that prohibits keeping fowl, rabbits and pigeons in the village dates back to 1976. The board could amend the local law by including a special use permit requirement in order for the pilot program to proceed. Questions remain, including liability, should something go wrong. Next steps include getting an opinion letter from the village’s insurance company and holding the public hearing on July 18. In other news: The board authorized payment of bills totaling $106,079.28 Trustee Barry Cheney announced that the new water plant is making good quality water and village residents will notice a difference in the new, softer water. Peter Wajda’s Eagle Scout project clearing a walking path that connects McFarland Drive at the library with the 64-unit senior housing community Creekside Apartments. The board is seeking bids for solar lighting for the South Street Parking Lot. Trustee George McManus raised concerns over “ugly solar panel arrays” and the board will review zoning about solar panels separately from soliciting bids for municipal lighting. The mayor acknowledged the concern, and countered with the two solar hot water panels installed in October 2009 on Jerry Fischetti’s Victorian home on Oakland Avenue. The board set a public hearing to amend a law that prohibits the keeping of animals like chickens and rabbits in the village for July 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall. The next regular meeting of the board is Tuesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Warwick Village Hall, 77 Main St.