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April 23, 1993

 

 

Ms. Barbara Ross
77 Cross Street
Yorkville, N.Y. 13495

The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to
issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is
based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.

Dear Ms. Ross:

I have received your letter of April 12 in which you raised a
question concerning the propriety of a notice of a public hearing
published by the Village of Yorkville concerning its tentative
budget.

The notice states in part that "[a]ny interest taxpayer may
inspect the proposed budget by contacting the Village Treasurer."
It is your view that the tentative budget and/or the public hearing
on the subject may have been available only to "interested tax
payers" and not to all residents of the Village.

In this regard, it is unclear whether the intent of the notice
is to restrict access only to "taxpayers." Nevertheless, in my
view, the term "taxpayer" means any resident, and not only those
who own real property. Further, the language of the Village Law
indicates that the tentative budget is available to any person.
Specifically, §5-508(3) states in relevant part that "[t]he notice
of hearing shall state the time when and place where such public
hearing will be held, the purpose thereof, and that a copy of the
tentative budget is available at the office of the village clerk
where it may be inspected by any interested person during office
hours" (emphasis added). As such, it is clear that any person, and
not only real property taxpayers, may review a tentative budget.

Again, it is unclear whether the language of the notice was
intended to be as restrictive as you inferred. However, in an
effort to ensure that Village officials are aware of the provision
quoted earlier, copies of this opinion will be forwarded to them.

I hope that I have been of some assistance.

Sincerely,

 

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director

RJF:pb

cc: Board of Trustees
Leo Malecki, Mayor