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Article 1 of the proposed law is a substitute for title 1 of the act of 1870, and all of its provisions are substantially new. No change is made in the size and population of a territory which is authorized to incorporate. The provisions of section 1 of the act of 1870, however, authorizing the incorporation of a territory of less than one square mile, containing a park of 40 acres, etc., are omitted. These provisions, though general in terms, are local in application, and have, doubtless, served the purpose for which they were originally enacted. Under the present law,
, after the census and survey have been taken, an election to determine the question of incorporation is authorized. An appeal may then be taken from the election, and upon the appeal all questions involving the legality of the incorporation, including questions as to the territory, the requisite population, or the irregularity of the election, may be raised. Thus the election may result favorably to incorporation, and upon the appeal it may appear that the population is insufficient, or that the territory is too large. Under the proposed revision all questions as to the territory, the requisite population, or the qualifications of the persons proposing incorporation, are determined finally before an election is authorized to be held, and upon the appeal from the election only questions involving the regularity thereof can be raised.
Section 32 authorizes the village to borrow money temporarily until the date of the first annual meeting, held after its incorporation.
CLASSIFICATION OF VILLAGES. The revision proposes a classification of villages based upon population, and provision is made for an enumeration of the inhabitants, to be taken once every four years. It is found to be of great convenience to refer to villages of a particular class, rather than to refer to them as containing a specified population. A village of the first class contains a population of 5,000 or more, the second class, 3,000 and less than 5,000; the third class, 1,000 and less than 3,000, and the fourth class, less than 1,000.
QUALIFICATION OF VOTERS. No substantial change has been made in the qualifications necessary to vote for a village officer. Under the present law a person is not entitled to vote upon a proposition to raise a tax or appropriate the same or purchase property, unless he or his wife is assessed upon the last preceding assessment roll.
Under the revision a person is not entitled to vote upon any proposition, unless so qualified. Under the present law it has frequently been a vexatious question as to whether a particular proposition involves the raising of a tax. It is believed that all or nearly all propositions directly or indirectly involve the expenditure of money, and, therefore, the property qualification has been required of all electors voting upon propositions.
An official year is fixed by the revision to begin at noon on the first Monday after the third Tuesday of March, and to end at noon on the same Monday in the next calendar year. The terms of all officers, except police justices, begin with the official year. Under the present law, the commencement of the terms of elective officers are not fixed, but probably begin with the completion of the canvass of the election.
Under the present law, the minimum number of trustees is fixed at three, and a maximum number at nine, an additiona trustee being authorized for each 400 of population over 1,200 The revision fixes the minimum number of trustees at two. village of the third class is authorized to have not more than four, a village of the second class not more than six, and a village of the first class not more than eight. The revision fixes the minimum number of trustees at two, and requires an even number of trustees in each case, in order that there may always be an odd number of members of the board of trustees. The president is made a member of the board of trustees and all
powers which under the present law are conferred upon the board of trustees, the trustees, or the president and trustees, are specifically conferred upon the board of trustees as such. The board will thus in no case contain less than three members. The term of the trustees is fixed at two years, and all the trustees are elected at the same election instead of at different times.
The act of 1870 authorizes the election of trustees by districts, but makes no provision for the canvass of an election held by districts or generally for carrying out such method of election. The revision authorizes the election of trustees by wards in villages of the first class. It is not believed that there is any necessity for the election of trustees by wards in villages containing a population of less than 5,000. If the village contains but one election district and trustees are elected by wards, separate ballot boxes are to be provided for each ward. If the village contains more than one election district, and the trustees are elected by wards, the board of trustees are required to meet and canvass the result.
SEPARATE BOARDS OF COMMISSIONERS.
The present law authorizes the organization of the board of trustees as a board of water commissioners or the separate election of three water commissioners. The water commissioners are required to act also as light commissioners. Five sewer commissioners, and not less than five nor more than nine cemetery commissioners may be appointed by the board of trustees. The revision requires the board of trustees to act as water, light, sewer and cemetery commissioners in the first instance, and confers upon it, primarily, all the powers which, by this chapter, are conferred upon any such board. The electors may, however, adopt a propositions establishing a separate board of water, light, sewer or cemetery commissioners. If such proposition is adopted, a board of three commissioners is appointed by the board of trustees. Any such commissioners now in office
are continued until the expiration of their terms, and no new commissioners are to be appointed until the number of such commissioners in office is reduced by expiration of term to less than three. The commissioners so appointed are required to have the same qualifications as members of the board of trustees A full term of office of such commissioner is three years.
The treasurer of the village is to receive all the moneys belonging to the village. Under the present law the board of water commissioners dispenses its own funds, and has a treasurer separate from the treasurer of the village. The report of the treasurer is required to be made on or before the fifth day of March and is fuller than under the present law.
The clerk of the village acts as the clerk of the board of trustees and also of each separate board. The present law authorizes a separate clerk for the board of sewer commissioners, and a member of the board of water commissioners acts as secretary of the board.
POWERS OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
The powers of the board of trustees have been enlarged in several respects. Many provisions now contained in special chapters, but not in the law of 1870, have been added. The powers of the board have been separated, those relating to matters generally collated in one section, those which involve the imposition of penalties in another, and those which relate to licensing occupations, in a third.
ORDINANCES. All ordinances imposing a penalty are required to be approved by the board of trustees, whether adopted by that board or by a separate board of water, light or cemetery commission
An ordinance takes effect immediately against a person on whom a copy thereof is personally served.
The revision establishes a fiscal year ending with the last day of February. The finances of the village are required to be kept in separate funds. There has been a slight change in the exemption from poll tax of persons who are exempt under the Highway Law, and in extending the age of limitation from 60 to 70 years. Under the general Village Law the assessment roll is made up independently of the town roll. The revision provides for two methods of preparing the assessment roll. If a village is of the first or second class, or is not wholly contained within a town, a separate assessment roll is required to be prepared. If a village is of the third or fourth class and contained wholly within a town, the town assessment roll is required to be taken as the basis of the village assessment roll. The commissioners have received many responses to a circular letter inquiring as to the policy desired in this respect. The answers have been conflicting. The sections proposed by the revision may be considered in the nature of a compromise. Thus in the larger villages and in the villages which are not subject to the jurisdiction of a single board of town assessors, the village is authorized to prepare its own roll. In other villages the roll is prepared from the town assessment roll, and may be corrected in substantially the same manner as if originally prepared as a separate roll.
All distinctions between ordinary and extraordinary expenditures are abolished by the revision, and the taxes are authorized to be raised for all the necessary purposes of the village not exceeding certain fixed limitations. If a greater amount is required it may be raised when authorized by a village election. It is believed that the revision greatly simplifies the present system of village finances, places the limit of expenditure more thoroughly under the control of the taxpayers, and is at the