Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, July 31, 2009

1878 New York State Law Limits Powers of Pelham Town Officials to Borrow Money

For many years during the 1870s and 1880s, rival factions on City Island and the mainland battled over whether to improve roadways in the Town of Pelham and how to pay for such improvements.  City Islanders typically opposed road improvements on the mainland and, thus, opposed efforts to raise money for such improvements.  Eventually, the City Island faction convinced State lawmakers to pass a law limiting the ability of Town officials to borrow money to fund such improvements.  The text of the statute is quoted below.

"CHAP. 355.

AN ACT to limit and define the powers of the the [sic; asterisk footnote reads "So in the original."] * supervisor, town clerk, commissioners of highways and justices of the peace of the town of Pelham, in the county of Westchester.

PASSED MAY 24, 1878; three-fifths being present.

The People of the State of New York represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

[Left Column Summary:]  Not to apply to supervisors for authority to borrow money, etc.

SECTION 1.  The supervisor, town clerk, commissioner of highways and justices of the peace of the town of Pelham, in the county of Westchester, shall not have power, after the passage of this act, to apply to the board of supervisors of the said county for authority to borrow, upon the credit of the said town, any sum whatever, and to issue the bonds of the said town under and in pursuance of chapter eight hundred and fifty-five of the laws of eighteen hundred and sixty-nine, or under chapter two hundred and sixty of the laws of eighteen hundred and seventy-four,

[Left Column Summary:]  Except by resolution of town meeting.

excepting under and in pursuance of a resolution passed at a town meeting held according to law in said town, expressing the amount to be raised, or borrowed, and the object to which the same shall be appropriated;

[Left Column Summary:]  Resolution not to be passed without notice being given and posted.

and it shall not be lawful for any such town meeting to pass any resolution for the purposes aforesaid without a public printed notice being given, and posted in at least twenty public places in said town, among which shall be the railroad station at Pelhamville, the town hall, the railroad stations at Pelham Manor and Bartow, City Island bridge and the town clerk's office and each post-office in said town, at least four weeks prior to the said town meeting,

[Left Column Summary:]  Contents of notice.

and such notice shall specify the object and amount of each sum proposed to be raised or borrowed as aforesaid, and that the same will be presented at the next town meeting.

[Left Column Summary:]  Publication.

Such notice shall also be published for four weeks prior to said meeting in a newspaper printed and published in said town, if there shall be one, and if none is so printed and published, then in a newspaper printed and published in the village of New Rochelle and also in Mount Vernon.

[Left Column Summary:]  Proof of posting and publication.  Record.

It shall be the duty of the town clerk to present to the town meeting proof of the posting and publication of such notice before any resolution shall be passed for the purposes aforesaid, and such proof shall be recorded in full in the minutes of the town meeting.

[Left Column Summary:]  Vote necessary.

HTML clipboard§ 2.  No resolution for the appropriation or raising of money shall be passed at any town meeting in the town of Pelham unless by the vote of three-fifths of the taxpayers present at such meeting, taken by ballot, 

[Left Column Summary:]  Who entitled to vote.

and no person shall vote unless he shall be a taxpayer, and all taxpayers shall be entitled to vote for such appropriations except those who only pay a dog tax.

HTML clipboard§ 3.  This act shall take effect immediately."

Source:  Laws of the State of New York Passed at the One Hundred and First Session of the Legislature Begun January First and Ended May Fifteenth, 1878, in the City of Albany, Chap. 355, p. 440 (Albany, NY:  A. Bleecker Banks, Publisher, 1878).

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