CAROGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Online meetings have been a typical way to handle business when it comes to governmental work. Many municipalities have been holding meetings via Zoom, however, that may not be the case anymore in Fulton County.
Caroga Town Supervisor Scott Horton made the announcement on a budget Zoom Meeting on Wednesday to resume in-person meetings. About 40 people were on the Zoom call including board members and the general public. Horton believes following the right COVID-19 safety protocols, it’s possible to itch back to normal. “We understand a lot of people like Zoom, but we don’t have a severe risk of COVID infection up here. We haven’t had a case in months in the Town of Caroga. There is no other township that I am aware of in Fulton County that is still virtual, they’ve all been in person. The county three months ago went back in person,” says Horton.
Horton says with technical issues, it’s harder to communicate. He thinks work can get done quicker and more efficiently in person. He says making a decision to bring board members back has been in discussion for about three months. Throughout the duration of the pandemic, there has been a few hybrid meetings, but not everyone is allowed to be at Town Hall.
James Long is a Caroga Town Board Member. He says after Horton made the final decision to resume meetings in person on Wednesday, he was in shock. “It was an absolute shock to all those who attended by Zoom. And it certainly was a shock to me, I did not see this coming,” says Long. He says the number of COVID cases may be low to zero right now, but that could change. He also fears there will be a lack of transparency between board members and the public. He brought up that there are many seasonal residents that would not be able to make it to the meetings in person. Although the other members are willing to meet in person, Long doesn’t feel comfortable going back.
“I am hoping the board will change its mind. I am hoping perhaps they could persuade by the Fulton County Health Department we’ll see, I really don’t know how to proceed at this time,” says Long.
The next meeting is scheduled to be in-person at Caroga Town Hall on Tuesday, November 10.