After a project run-time of approximately two years, the Mineola Village Board has adopted a revamped version of its code book, containing all the laws and regulations of the village.
“Historically speaking, a long time ago when I became village attorney, this was the village code,” village attorney John Spellman said holding up a small book during a hearing on the reorganized book on December 12 at the village hall. “It was compiled in the 50’s, early 60’s and later on during the 80’s we worked on recodifying it.”
The recodification simply reorganizes the laws and regulations of the village into a more reader-friendly format with new sections and places related laws and codes into more appropriate groupings.
“What this does is it goes through the code and it reorganizes it,” Spellman said, “puts it in a different format makes the chapters a little more user-friendly comes up with what you think is a better index and then it incorporates approximately one hundred local laws which have been adopted since the last time we amended the text. All of these local laws have now been put in the place where they belong in the code, integrated where they should have been all along.”
General Code, the country’s leading codebook company, was selected as the vendor for the recodification project, the last revision of which was completed in the 1960’s. The company with which the village was working to provide updates went out of business “and as a result we’ve been kind of working our way through amendments and new local laws and the like since that time,” Spellman said.
The goal was to have an up-to-date code that gives every resident in the village to go to one book and see al the law and to have a version that can be placed online for immediate public access through the internet.
Technical and grammatical errors were corrected as well as names of state agencies whose names have changed or public officers whose titles have changed were updated.
“Substantively, the code hasn’t changed,” Spellman said. “The prior orange code that I showed you plus the hundred or so local laws are all untouched, substantively.”
The company does recommend some changes in local laws, which only take place after public hearings on those specific laws. Any change to the village code must first be approved by the village board and is subject to public hearings.
Spellman reiterated that the company has changed the format but not the substance of the code and the revisions enable the village to have the code in one binder and on the village website. Also, any time a new local law is adopted, General Code will also send the village updates.
“So, you take out the old page, you put in the new page so everyone will have the opportunity to have a fully updated code even when local laws are adopted,” Spellman said.
“I would say you’ve given us enough time to go through this stuff and everything looks straightforward,” trustee George Durham said, “and it’s beneficial to the public to be able to get access to the code through our new website so that everybody can have a fair standing and understanding of the laws of the village and easy access to them.”
Spellman stated that mayor Scott Strauss had contacted him regarding certain sections of the code that “don’t appear to be correct,” but Spellman stated that those sections would be corrected but through another amendment process.
“We’re not here to do that now, we’re here to establish a new baseline from which we can make these corrections,” he said.
“We’re not adopting any local laws other than the local law to approve the recodification of these; so they’re just reorganizing what we currently have in place,” Strauss said. “So once we approve what we have in place – that’s already on the books, they’re already local laws – we approve it and then we’re going to be able to put it online and as Mr. Spellman said, have a hardcopy if anybody needs it.”