In response to the current state of affairs, the Governor has issued a suspension of Article 7 of the Open Meetings Law1, thereby allowing public meetings to be held without having the public in physical attendance. In short, virtual meetings or meetings by conference calls are acceptable.
Several Dutchess County municipalities have canceled all board meetings to conform to the social distancing directive. While this is obviously the correct directive to follow, it is crucial to the future of these municipalities, and the County, to take advantage of Executive Order 202.1. Canceling meetings will create an undo backlog that could extend beyond the duration of the pandemic.
Development in this County is bustling. Projects that have been in the concept or design stage for over a decade; Hudson Heritage (the Psychiatric Center) and Bellefield (across from the Culinary) for example, will be halted while awaiting decisions from the municipal boards. This will affect employment negatively and our economy simply cannot sustain any unnecessary economic hits. While a number of occupations are not able to support social distancing, construction projects allow multiple people to work without being in close proximity to one another.
In a time of crisis, communities rely on the government, at all levels, to continue working. The economic future of Dutchess County is in the hands of our local municipalities. Given the flexibility by Executive Order 202.1 to meet remotely, we, the signers of this letter, respectfully request all municipal boards continue meeting to advance projects and provide direction to communities they have been elected by to serve.
Amy Bombardieri, Michael TJ McCormack, AIA Day and Stokosa Engineering, PLLC Liscum McCormack VanVoorhis, Architects