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Cato Mural

A mural of the town of Cato in the town offices. The town board held off on approving a local law to change the town clerk's hours Tuesday.

CATO — A proposed change to the business hours for the Cato Town Clerk was postponed Tuesday night after the town board decided to explore the possibility of putting the changes on the ballot.

Originally, the board was considering a local law changing the hours for Town Clerk Jody Snyder to include three or four hours on Saturdays in order for residents using the municipal transfer station to take care of other town business while there, Town Supervisor Charles Ray said.

The law would effectively take three hours out of the clerk's Monday availability, which is currently from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and add them on Saturdays instead.

While a legal notice for the change published in The Citizen — and a copy of an email provided by Snyder from the town attorney dictating the text of the notice — said the law would also change the clerk's location, Ray said Tuesday that was not the case.

During a public hearing on the law, numerous town residents expressed support for Snyder and opposition to the change, including a petition provided by Dorothy Korthas with 133 signatures.

Several residents, including former Town Clerk Marilyn Cole, said it did not make sense to cut time away from Mondays when that is typically the busiest time at the town offices. Others said that the offices and parking lot become crowded on Saturdays when the transfer station is open and making the town itself open for business at the same time would only add to the confusion.

Residents Debbie Titus and Crystal Clarke voiced their support for Snyder, and questioned the need for the change, with Clarke asking for proof of other residents requesting the change as Ray said.

"If there's any complaints, I want to see them in writing," Clarke said.

Ray said that several residents had asked for the town to be open, but noted that no one had complained about Snyder.

"Trust me, nobody's complaining about the job she's doing, she's done a great job," Ray said.

Following the public hearing, Board Member Stefan House suggested leaving the decision to a public referendum.

"Why don't we let the people pick it, put it on the ballot in November?" House said, a suggestion that was met with applause from the packed room.

Ray said he was not sure if the town would be able to do so, and advised against passing a resolution saying as much if that promise could not be met.

Prior to House's motion, Board Member Irving Foster had introduced a motion to keep Snyder's Monday hours the same, add four hours on Saturdays, and give Snyder Fridays off from May to September. Several residents, however, noted that the clerk's office is already closed Fridays during those dates.

Foster rescinded his motion to allow for House's to proceed, which was then approved unanimously. Following the meeting, Ray said the town would consult with the town attorney for advice on how to proceed.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin

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