MALONE — Public comments brought out tension as the Village Board continues to search for a new code officer.

Elizabeth Weissman addressed the board, calling for action in an ongoing issue involving her neighbor, David Rock, regarding code enforcement.

Weissman complained that trash has continued to build up on Rock’s property, including a car she said is in violation of village code.

“There’s been a derelict vehicle on that property for one-and-a-half weeks,” Weissman said.

“We do have a code?” she added rhetorically. “I don’t know why it’s not being enforced.”

Mayor Andrea Dumas defended herself and the board, saying the village has been working hard to do what it can without a code officer and under restrictions resulting from COVID-19.

“We are working through this,” Dumas said, adding that she, trustee Matt Boyea and other officials have visited the property on Brown Street to speak with Rock, but haven’t been able to complete any actions as village court has not reopened.

Weissman continued to address the board, insisting that something be done.

“What’s going to happen here?” she said. “What are you going to do for me today?”

A discussion broke out involving the board and all attendees to the meeting, and suggestions like adding code violation fines to violators’ taxes.

“It has to be enforced through the court system,” said Trustee Archie McKee.

Trustee Norman Bonner also responded to comment about an instance when it was claimed that a previous vehicle was removed following threats from officials of direct fines of $50 per day until the vehicle was removed.

“That worked that time,” said Bonner.

“It has not worked for the two years for the person at that home,” he said, referring to the current situation with the property on Brown Street.

Dumas continually assured Weissman and other attendees that the board’s hands remain tied until court goes back into session, and defended against comments that the board was not properly executing its function.

“This Village Board has worked through a lot of issues it’s never worked through (before),” said Dumas.

Dumas later added that the visits to the property were not part of her responsibility as mayor, and that it’s normally something only a code officer would do.

Dumas also assured the attendees that it was not an issue of apathy, noting that both she and Bonner had evident code violators on their streets.

“If this case is not pursued, we’re screwed,” said Weissman. “He’s got a Carte Blanche right now.”

Dumas told Weissman she would make another personal visit to the house to address the issue this morning.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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