Smaller board eyed

FONDA – The Montgomery County Legislature amended a resolution Tuesday so the county’s Economic Development Planning Board can have nine members instead of 15.

Ken Rose, director of Montgomery County’s Business Development Center, told the Legislature the board should have nine members instead of 15 to mirror the current Legislature.

Rose also noted through the years there have sometimes been issues with obtaining a quorum at meetings with a 15 member board. The planning board hasn’t been operating in the past six months, Rose said, because there hasn’t been a quorum.

The board is important to the county because it reviews boundaries and projects that affect the region, he said.

The resolution also calls for two alternate members of the board. The alternates would be appointed by the board’s chairman. They will be available when there is an absence so the board can maintain a quorum, officials said.

District 5 Legislator Terry Bieniek suggested each legislator appoint a member for the planning board.

However, District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush said the Legislature should have a backup plan in case legislators can’t find anyone willing to be a planning board member.

John “Duke” Duchessi, District 6 legislator, agreed, but suggested having a board member from each district in the county.

“These boards are difficult to serve on; we’ll be lucky to find someone at all,” Duchessi said. “But one of the things I do like about the members coming from each of the districts is that you get a fair geographic distribution and sometimes planning issues involve specific areas where there really needs to be a voice for that specific legislative district, so this will be good.”

Rose said a lot of different people can qualify as board members. Many have been members of other local boards, and familiar with topics the planning board handles.

The planning board positions are unpaid. Members will serve three-year terms to coincide with the Legislature.

The county Legislature will make final amendments and may pass the resolution at the full board meeting March 25.