CANTON — After five months on the job, Canton’s town code enforcement officer has resigned.
Town Council acknowledged the work of Miranda Y. Corbine on Thursday night during a special meeting — the last, for now, held with an in-person participation option.
Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley said Ms. Corbine submitted a letter to the town in August, with her resignation effective Friday.
One of five applicants earlier this year, Ms. Corbine was appointed in April. She filled the position vacated by Jeffrey K. Murray, who resigned from the full-time post in January to head the town of Potsdam’s code enforcement office. Like Mr. Murray in the spring, Ms. Corbine has agreed to assist with the office’s transition as a part-time contractor.
Councilors unanimously approved an interim professional services agreement to compensate Ms. Corbine for any building permit work performed while a search gets underway. The agreement specifies Ms. Corbine may work up to 10 hours a week at $50 an hour, plus mileage reimbursement as needed.
The town’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday and will be held virtually. The move follows Wednesday’s passage of a state law extending the ban on evictions and foreclosures until Jan. 15, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation included a provision that amends Open Meetings Law, also until Jan. 15.
Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul signed the measures into law Thursday morning. The Open Meetings Law provision authorizes public bodies to meet remotely without in-person public access as long as “the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.”
In a Thursday memo, the state Committee on Open Government noted the language essentially mirrors former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s March 2020 executive order that was extended several times until earlier this year.
Town Councilor David K. Nelson said holding in-person meetings is “unnecessarily risky” right now, citing the surge in COVID-19 cases locally and nationally.
St. Lawrence County logged 114 new cases Friday, bringing the county’s active case count to 560. More than 94% of all U.S. counties are experiencing a high level of virus transmission this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC is assigning one of four COVID-19 transmission levels — low, moderate, substantial or high — in line with a county’s number of new cases per 100,000 people in a given week. Substantial classification equates to between 50 and 99 new cases; high classification means at least 100 new cases in a seven-day period.
Almost the entire state of New York — except Essex, Schuyler and Wyoming counties, which are maintaining substantial transmission — are listed in the high category.
The town has been conducting meetings in a hybrid format, but councilors agreed to revert to fully remote meetings using Zoom Technologies starting next week.
“Everybody’s health and safety is the priority,” Ms. Ashley said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re going backwards.”