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Carl Stuendel writes:

For the last 13 years I’ve maintained and operated this blog/website.  It’s been my pleasure to make available to all of you readers news about the doings of our elected officials via the minutes of our town council meetings.  I’ve done this not only with the gratitude of the board, but also with their payment of the website’s annual fees.  (Approximately $20.00/year up until 2019.  From 2019 on it has cost ~$70.00/year — it costs extra money to keep ads from appearing.)  I have never asked the Town for money to cover my time, nor has the Town ever paid me.

I’m sorry to inform you that at the December 14, 2021 Town of Tompkins Council Meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution (Resolution #114-2021) to discontinue the use of its “official” website.   

You ask WHY?  New York state has passed legislation demanding that towns with official websites must have certain types of content available at the website.  Of course, the state did not fund this mandate and the Town Clerk and Town Board did not feel our town had the resources to deliver this content on the time table the state required. 

[ See:  1)  https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/A1108   

2) https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-two-pieces-legislation-boosting-transparency-state-and-local-government

3) https://www.nystca.com/home/news/legislationupdatenystcalegislationchairpattykalba ]

There have been:

71,236 views in 13 years; an average of 5480 views/year, 457 views/month.

21,465 visitors in the past 10 years; an average of 2,146 visitors/year, 179 visitors/month.

With this viewership,  I believe we’re doing a disservice to our community by making these minutes available only to those who can come to the Town Hall in Trout Creek to read a printed set of the minutes.

I’m not an attorney, but a possible solution to this would be to recognize this “unofficial” website as a news outlet that provides the approved minutes of the town board as news items.  townoftompkins.org is a domain name registered to me.  The Town of Tompkins can certainly discontinue its funding of this personal website/news-site, and, regardless of this, would remain dedicated to matters that effect the residents of the Town of Tompkins.

Another possibility is that there will be so much blow-back from voters and public officials over this state legislation that it will be revamped and the town will once again affirm this website to be its official site without fear of fines from NY State for non-compliance.

Thank you for your attention and understanding, Carl

One Comment

  1. Thanks for all you’ve done on this site, Carl! It has been a great resource for us in the community who otherwise wouldn’t be that informed on what’s going on in our town.

    Disappointing to hear the latest news. If there’s anything we can do to help–whether it’s contributing towards the hosting costs of the site, or asking the board to reconsider–let us know!


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