WESTFIELD - The elected officials in the Village of Westfield reaffirmed their oaths of office Tuesday, Feb. 19 during a regular Board of Trustees meeting by passing the first resolution of the year - to pledge continued support of the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.
Village Clerk Vince Luce explained the basis for the resolution was born out of the Town of Deer Park, N.Y., passing a similar resolution.
"All elected or appointed officials take an oath of office, and within that oath they are sworn to uphold the United States Constitution, which is the law of our land," Luce said in a phone interview. "Our board of trustees feels that there are benefits to the use and ownership of firearms, especially for hunting and personal safety, and that the SAFE Act is in violation of these rights. It is hoped that several communities across the state will pass similar resolutions and encourage our state legislators to apply pressure to change some of these actions."
The board's resolution clearly states recent "legislation passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate infringes on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed by the individual citizens of the Village of Westfield, for defense of Life, Liberty and Property and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed for safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting conducted with Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York."
It further states the board believes there to be "many other less intrusive means available, other than rash, confusing and inarticulately drafted firearms laws that would effectively control, manage, and reduce violence in our society," such as proposed reforms to mental health, anti-bullying school programs, fully enforcing the existing firearms laws and proper psychological treatment to those who need or request it.
No members of the public in attendance, some of which included high school government class students, expressed any opposition to the measure.
In other matters, the Board of trustees also passed the first two local laws for the start of 2013.
Local Law 1-2013 was passed after a recommendation by the village's planning board to remove agricultural structures, gas and oil wells and mobile/trailer home sales in the service-industrial district (S.I. 1) and add the use of the district for art gallery/art studio. The law also calls for an amendment to make the zoning district between Highway Business District and Industrial a village mixed use district.
The intent of amending the zoning law, according to Luce, is more accurately reflect the industrial climate of the area and will facilitate a business type, other than what was deleted, to expand or start up in the village.
"At the time most of the uses were developed, which was in the 1970's and early 1980's, there were more of those types of industrial businesses looking to start up and expand," Luce said.
By amending the S.I. 1 district, a wider variety of businesses will be facilitated if they desire to expand or start business in the village. The changes will not impact any present businesses, and there are currently no agricultural structure, gas/oil wells or mobile/trailer home sales businesses slated to be affected by the changes, according to the village clerk.
Local Law No. 2 was passed by the board in order to cushion the village in case of any unforeseen financial obligations which may arise on an emergent basis.
The law allows the village to adopt a budget for the fiscal year, which commences in June, requiring a real property tax levy in excess of the tax levy limit as defined by General Municipal Law.
An example of when this law would come into play, according to Luce, would be if yearly retirement costs were expected to exceed budgeted amounts for a fiscal year, the override would allow the village to cover the fiscal responsibility without being in violation of local or state laws.
The board will meet again on Monday, March 18 at 7 p.m. in the North Room of Eason Hall. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.