NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - North Salem Town Clerk Veronica "Ronnie" Howley calls herself "the doorway to local government. If you don't know where to start, you come here and we'll point you in the right direction."
About 10 years ago someone came in to inquire about buying a house. He told her the address and asked, "How's the neighborhood?" She could reassure him with confidence. He was about to become one of her neighbors. Whenever he sees her he says, "I''m so glad I ran into you that day."
Other parts of her job include issuing permits, licenses, marriage, birth and death certificates, providing copies of documents and much, much more. "There are no secrets here," she added. "Practically everything is foilable."
North Salem's Town Board, headed by Supervisor Warren Lucas, is generally responsible for local legislation and other residents' needs. It often serves as liaison to other boards and departments. The Town Board meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. The public can actually watch the meeting live on the town's website. Meetings are also videotaped and are available for viewing the day after each meeting. The agenda for each meeting is posted on the website 72 hours in advance. It is also posted on the bulletin board at Town Hall.
The Planning Board reviews and approves site plans, subdivisions, land disturbance applications, wetlands permits and certain types of permits. They meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.The agenda is posted on the website the Friday before the meeting. The chairperson is Cynthia Curtis.
The Zoning Board of Appeals meets the 2nd Thursday of each month.They are responsible for upholding zoning laws and addressing variances. The agenda is posted on the website the Monday before the meeting. The chairman of the board is Brian Ivanhoe.
All board meetings are held in the Annex of the Town Offices complex at 270 Titicus Road, North Salem.
Minutes of previous meetings are read and approved at the next meeting. They are posted on the website the following day and are also available at Town Hall.
The local government in North Salem is very open. Practically everything, including the stack of bills they receive, is available to the public.
The Town of North Salem website gives complete information about the town government, including the members of each board, their term limits and the time and place of meetings.
Howley, who graduated from North Salem High School in 1976, points out that the same people come into her office at certain times of the year. One of her teachers at NSHS, for example, has come in year after year for his fishing license.
The best part of her job is "getting to meet and know the people in town. Where else can you call an ambulance and the EMT is someone you know who holds your hand during the trip?"
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