Some communities in the Southern Tier are looking at breaking away from the statewide association that represents them, expressing frustration, in part, with the group’s position on a municipalities’ ability to ban shale-gas drilling.
Partly due to a rift over natural gas drilling, several Southern Tier municipal leaders are in discussions about breaking away from the Association of Towns of the State of New York and forming a new group to represent upstate municipalities in Albany.
Town of Windsor Supervisor Carolyn Price said a contingent of area officials who are frustrated with the association’s leadership on a variety of issues — including oil and natural gas — are planning to convene for a preliminary meeting later this month.
The Association of Towns currently counts 904 of the 932 town governments in New York as members. The organization receives dues from the towns each year, and in return, provides legal and technical assistance, training for officials and advocacy on policy positions determined by town officials at the association’s annual meeting.
The frustration partly stems from a situation we wrote about earlier this year, in which the Association of Towns signed onto a court brief in favor of fracking home rule despite the differing position of its president at the time, Binghamton town supervisor Tim Whitesell. (Lori Mithen-Demasi, the association’s counsel, said the brief was “consistent with the long-standing policy of the association to support and defend home rule in courts.”)