George Crane Morehouse.

The supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe online

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Online LibraryGeorge Crane MorehouseThe supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe → online text (page 85 of 96)
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entitled. Notice of the application and a copy of the petition must
be served upon the attorney-general. Upon the hearing the court
may make such a final order, as justice requires, for the disposition
of the money or other property, as prescribed in the last section.

Id., § 1975.



764 SUPERVISOES' MAlTtrAL.

MANDAMUS.

The practice and proceedings in cases of <mandamus pertain to
the legal profession rather than to the board of supervisors. A full
statement thereof may be found in works on practice like Fiero's
Special Proceedings, and others.

As far as the board of supervisors have any duties in relation to
such proceedings, it would seem that the employment of competent
counsel and the following of his instructions would comprise about
all they were called upon to do.

The cases in which such proceedings are likely to arise are elec-
tions, auditing of accounts, assessment and collection of taxes, rail-
road aid bonds, etc., and the law on these subjects is contained in
the several chapters on these subjects. The same may be said of
cases of certiora/ri.



CHAPTER XVII.

TOWNS AS BODIES CORPORATE, TOWN MEETINGS, ETC.

Sbc. 914. Powers and rights as bodies cor- Sbo. 948. Town meeting, additional powers,
porate. 949. to expend over |500 by^.

915 . Ejects of a division, etc. ballot.

Town meetings, powers. 950 . overseers of poor.

916 . Time of holding town meeting. 951 . commissioners of high-

917 . Place therefor. ways.

918. Justices to preside. 952. boards of town auditors.

919. Powers to preserve order. 958. pounds.

920. Who presides if justices absent. 954. assessors.
921-2. Clerk of meeting. 955. lock-ups.

How long kept open. 956. Miscellaneous.

923. Powers of majority. 957. burial grounds.

924. Challenges. 958-60. Miscellaneous.

925 . Minutes of proceedings. 961 . Mode of altering system of repair-
926-31 . Election of town officers. ing highways.

932-4. Canvass of votes. 962-5. Miscellaneous.

935. Statement of result. 966. Excise commissioners.

936 . Notice to persons elected. 967 . Relative to the poor.
937-45. Election of justices of peace. 968. Free public libraries.

946. Officers to be chosen. 969. Special town meetings.

947. Town meeting — powers of.

TOWNS AS BODIES COEPOEATE.

§ 914. Po-wers and Rig-hts of Towns as
Bodies Corporate.

1. Powers of Towns as Bodies Corporate.—

Each town, as a body corporate, has capacity :

1. To sue and be sued, in the manner prescribed in the laws of

this State;

2. To purchase and hold lands within its own limits, and for the
use of its inhabitants, subject to the power of the legislature over

such limits;

3. To make such contracts, and to purchase aud hold such per-
sonal property, as may be necessary to the exercise of its corporate
or administrative powers ; and,

i. To make such orders for the disposition, regulation or use of
its corporate property, as may be deemed conducive to the interests
of its inhabitants.

Part 1, chap. 2, art. 1, tit. 1, § 1, 1 R. S. 805.

Limitation.— No town shall possess or exercise any corporate



^"66 SupERvisoBS' Manual.

powers, except such as are enumerated in this chapter, or shall be
specially given by law, or shall be necessary to the exercise of the
powers so enumerated or given.

Id., § 2.

In Wbat Name to Act. — All acts or proceedings by or
against a town, in its corporate capacity, shall be in the name of
such town ; but every conveyance of lands within the limits of such
town, made in any manner, for the use or benefit of its inhabitants,
shall have the same effect as if made to the town by name.

Id., § 8.

§ 915. Effect of the Division of a Town on its
Corporate Rig'lits and Liabilities.

1. Disposal of Lands on Division of To\rn.—

When a town seized of lands shall be divided into two or more
towns, the supervisors and overseers of the poor of the several towns
constituted by such division, shall meet as soon as may be, after the
'first town meetings subsequently held in such towns, and when so
met, shall have power to make such agreement, concerning the dis-
position to be made of such town lands and the apportionment of
the proceeds, as they shall think equitable, and to take all measures
and execute all conveyances which may be necessary to carry such
agreement into effect.

Id., art. 2, §4, 1 R. S. 806.

When Part of Town is Annexed to Another,

• — When any such town shall be altered in its limits, by the annex-
ing of a part of its territory to another town, or towns, the super-
visors and overseers of the poor of the town from which such
territory shall be taken, and of the town or towns to which the same
shall be annexed, shall, as soon as may be after such alteration, meet
for the purpose, and possess the powers provided in the last preced-
ing section.

Id., §5.

If no Agreement be Made, Land to be Sold.

— If no agreement for the disposition of such lands shall be made
by the supervisors and overseers, within six mouths after such di-
vision or alteration, then the supervisor and overseers of the poor of
each town in which any portion of said lands shall lie, shall proceed,
»s soon as may be, to sell and convey such part of said lands as shall



Towns as Bodies Corpobatb. 767

be included within the limits of such town, as fixed by the division
or alteration ; and the proceeds arising from such sale shall be ap-
portioned between the several towns interested therein, by the
supervisors and overseers of the poor of all the towns, according to
the amount of taxable property in the town divided or altered, as
the same existed immediately before such division or alteration, to
be ascertained by the last assessment list of such town.

Id., §6.

Personal Property, bow Apportioned.—

When a town possessed of or entitled to money, rights and credits,
or other personal estate, shall be so divided or altered, such personal
estate, including moneys belonging to the town in the hands of town
officers, shall be apportioned between the towns interested therein,
by the supervisors and overseers, of such towns (who shall meet for
that purpose as soon as may be after the first town meetings subse-
quently held in such towns), according to the rule of apportionment
above prescribed.
Id., § 7.

Meetings, hovr Called. — Whenever a meeting of the
supervisors and overseers of two or more towns shall be required in
order to carry into eflEect the provisions of this article, such meeting
may be called by either of said supervisors ; but the supervisor calling
the same shall give at least three days' notice in writing to all the
other officers, of the time and place at which such meeting is to be
held.

Id., § 8.

Cemeteries Excepted. — The preceding sections shall
not, however, apply to any cemetery or burial ground; but the
same shall belong to the town within which it may be situated, after
a division shall have been made.

Id., § 9.

Debts to be Apportioned.— Debts owing by a town so
divided or altered shall be apportioned in the same manner as the
personal property of such town ; and each town shaU thereafter be
charged with its share of such debts, according to such apportion-
ment.

Id., § 10.

Gospel and Scbool Lots.— N^othing contained in this



768 SuPEKVisoRs' Manual.

title shall apply to any of the lots heretofore granted by the people
of this State to any town, for the support of the gospel and of
schools, commonly called the gospel and school lots.
Id., §11.

The powers, rights, etc., enumerated in section 914, ante, are sub-
stantially the same as those conferred upon the county as a body
corporate, and the decisions at section 544 are equally applicable to
towns.

TOWN MEETINGS.

Such powers as may be exercised by the electors at town meeting
are conferred by statute. Their " jurisdiction " is " inferior," and
limited to the rights thus given, and the statement made as to the
jurisdiction of the board of supervisors is applicable to such elect-
ors. They can do such things as the statute permits. They have
no absolute powers of legislation ; are not an auditing board, and
can only act upon the specific matters given them by law.

§ 916. Time of Holding To-wn Meetings.
— The town meetings of the several towns in the respective coun-
ties in this State shall be held on some day, between the 1st day
of February and the 1st day of May in each year, to be appointed,
from time to time, by the boards of supervisors of the several coun-
ties, by resolution, so that the town meetings of every town in the
county shall be held on the same day ; each board of supervisors to
fix the time for their respective counties at their pleasure within the
period aforesaid ; which resolution, so fixing the time for said town
meetings, when adopted, the said board shall cause to be duly pub-
lished, and the day so appointed shall remain the day established for
said town meetings for at least three successive years, and until
changed by a resolution of said boards.

Laws of 1889, chap. 389, § 15 ; 1 R. S. 815.

At-vrhat Hour and Time Certain Matters
may be Acted on — No Adjournment, Etc.—

The time for transacting the business of the towns in the State
of New York, which requires the vote of the people thereof, shall
be and is hereby fixed at 12 o'clock, m., of the day of the annual
town meeting for the election of town otiicers, and continue without
adjournment until finished, excepting the balloting for town oflScers
and the duties connected therewith.

Chap. 173, Laws of 1874, § 1.



Town Meetings. 769

No question involving the expenditure of money shall be intro-
duced after 2 o'clock, p. m. , of the same day.

Id., §2.

This act shall not apply to any town in this State wherein the
manner of holding town meetings is regulated by special act.

Id., §3.

§ 911. Place Therefor.— The citizens of the several
towns in this State, qualified by the Constitution to vote for elective
officers, shall annually assemble and hold town meetings in their re-
spective towns, at such place in each town as the electors thereof, at
their annual town meeting, shall from time to time appoint.

Part 1, chap. 11, tit. 2, art. 1, § 1, R. S. ; 1 R. S. 808.

If no place shall have been provided for such meeting, then the
same shall be held at the place of the last annual town meieting.

Chap. 52, Laws of 1831.

Electors may fix Place, Etc., by Ballot, Etc.

' — Whenever fifteen electors of any town in this State shall, ten
days before any annual town election, file a request in writing with
the town clerk of such town that they desire to have the question
as to where the next annual town election in such town shall be held
submitted to a vote of the electors at the then next annual town
election, then it shall be the duty of such clerk to prepare and have
at such election a box in which shall be deposited the ballot of each
elector offering to vote thereon, which ballot shall be written or
printed, or both, and shall designate the place in such town where
the elector voting the same shall desire the next town election to be
held, and on the canvass of such ballots by the board holding such
town election, that place for which the most ballots shall appear
shall be the place at which the next annual town election shall be
held in such town, and if the electors of any town shall fail, at any
annual town election, to designate the place where the next annual
town election shall be held, then the same shall be held at the place
where the last annual town election in said town was held.

Chap. 722, Laws of 1873, § 1.

Not to Apply to Certain Towns — This act shall

not apply to any town in which the election for town officers shall
be held by election districts, and all special town elections shall, be
held at the place in such town designated for holding the annual
town elections.

Id., §2.

97



770 SupEKVisoEs' Manual.

Mode of Conducting Town Meetings.

§ 918. Justices to Preside. — It shall be the duty of
the justices of the peace of each town, to attend every town meeting
held therein ; and such of them as shall be present, shall preside at
such meeting, and see that the same is orderly and regularly con-
ducted.

Part 1, chap. 11, art. 2, title 2, 8 11, R. S. (1 R. S. 812).

§ 919, PoTrer to Preserve Order. — The officers so
presiding shall have the like authority to preserve order, to enforce
obedience, and to commit for disorderly conduct as is possessed by
the board of inspectors at a general election.

Id., 9 12.

The powers of board of inspectors at general election are as fol-
lows:

The board of inspectors shall possess full authority to maintain
regularity and order, and to enforce obedience to their lawful com-
mands during an election, and during the canvass and estimate of
votes, after the closing of the poll ; and shall have full authority to
preserve peace and good order at and around the polls of the elec-
tion, and to keep the access thereto open and unobstructed ; and
may appoint one or more electors to communicate their orders and
directions, and to assist in the performance of the duties in this sec-
tion enjoined.

Chap. 130, Laws of 1842, tit. 4, § 32.

If any person shall refuse to obey the lawful command of the in-
spectors, or by disorderly conduct in their presence or hearing
shall interrupt or disturb their proceedings, they may make aa order
directing the sheriff, or any constable of the county, to take the per-
son so offending into custody, and detain him until the final canvass
of the votes shall be completed ; but such order shall not prohibit
the person so taken into custody from voting at such election.

N Id., §83.

Such order shall be executed by any sheriff or constable, to whom
the same shall be delivered ; or if none shall be present, by any other
person deputed by such board in writing.

Id., §84.

In the Election Code the following instructions are given :
Whenever a collection of turbulent individuals is anticipated
a/round the poll, it will be well for the inspectors, particularly in the



Town Meetings. 771

cdtieB, on organizing themselves as a board, to appoint so many con-
etables or other electors as they may deem necessary, to communi-
cate their orders, directions, etc. And where such appointment is
not made at the opening of the poll, it should be made imme-
diately on the commenoement of any serious disturbance or obstruc-
tion. And the inspectors, if the disturbance is out of their sight
and hearing, so that they cannot of their own knowledge identify
the individuals creating the same, should cause their command to
the offending individuals to desist immediately from such disturb-
ance or obstruction, to be distinctly communicated by some one or
more of the persons appointed as above. And on complaint being
made to them that their command is disregarded, and on causing
notice to be given to the party charged that the complaint has been
made, so that he may, if he choose to do so, confront and cross-ex-
amine the witnesses, the inspectors may administer such oath or
oaths, and examine such witness or witnesses as are necessary to es-
tablish the complaint ; and if the offense is clearly established, they
may issue their precept in the second form hereinafter given (§ 743,
post), adapting it to the offense.

{BlamJc precepts should he provided 'b^oreham.d andhe in posses-
sion of the ioard, ready to he filled vp for use.)

Election Code, § 740.

Form of Precept in Case of Refusal to Obey
the LaTT^ful Commands of the Inspectors.—

" The People of the State of New York to the sheriff of the county
of , or to any constable of said county :

Whereas, at the present annual (or special) town election, held in
and for election district number , in the town of (or in

the ward of the city of ), in said county, James Jackson

did willfuUy and intentionally obstruct the passage-way to the polls
of the said election, thereby hindering and preventing free access to
the said poll, in open and known violation of the command of us,
the undersigned inspectors of this election, previously and publicly
given in his hearing. You are, therefore, hereby ordered forthwith
to arrest the said James Jackson, and him safely keep and detain in
custody until the final canvass of the votes given in this election dis-
trict shall be completed.

Given under our hands and seals, this day of , 18 ."

{To he signed hy all or a majority of the inspectors.)
Id., §r«.



773 SupEEvisoKs' Makual.

Form of Deputation to be Written on Back
of Precept, in Case no Sheriff or Constable is
Present. — " No sheriff or constable being present we hereby
depute A. B. to execute the within process."

{To be signed by all or a majority of board.)

Id., § 742.

Form of Precept.— In Case of Disorderly-
Conduct in Presence or Hearing- of Inspect-
ors. — " The People of the State of New York to the sheriff of
the (city and) county of , or to any constable of said county :

Whereas, at the present annual (or special) town election, held in
and for election district number in the town of (or in the

ward of the city of ), in said (city and) county, James

Jackson, in the presence (or in the hearing) of us, the undersigned
inspectors of the said election, did by disorderly conduct, to-wit, by ,
(here describe the misconduct particularly, as by loud and boisterous
noises, or by violent stamping, or by assaulting A. B., etc., or by
commencing a riot and affray with divers persons, or as the case may
be) interrupt and disturb the proceedings of us, the said inspectors,
in conducting the election. You are, therefore, hereby ordered
forthwith to arrest the said James Jackson, and him safely detain in
custody until the final canvass of the votes given in this election dis-
trict shall be completed.

Given under our hands and seals, this day of ,18 ."

{The above should be signed by, at least, a majority of the in-,
specters.)

Id., §743.

§ 920. Presiding Officer, if Justice Absent.—

If there be no justice of the peace present at such meeting, then
such person as shall be chosen for that purpose by the electors
present shall preside, and shall possess the like powers as the justices.

IB. S., (Wife, § 13, p. 813.

§ 921. Clerk of Meeting. — The town clerk last before
elected or appointed shall be the clerk of the town meeting, and
shall keep faithful minutes of its proceedings ; in which he shall en-
ter, at length, every order or direction, and all rules and regulations
made by such meeting.

Id., § 14.

§ 922. If the town clerk be absent, then such person as shall be



Town Meetin-gs. 773

chosen for that purpose by the electors present, shall act as clerk of
the meeting.

Id., § 15.

Meeting-, IlOW I<ong- Kept Open.— Town meetings
shall be kept open in the day time only, between the rising and set.
ting of the snn ; and if necessary, may be held two days successively,
but no longer.

Id., § 16.

§ 923. Majority to Decide, Etc.— All questions, upon
motions made at town meetings, shall be determined by the majority
of the electors voting ; and the officers presiding at such meeting
shall ascertain and declare the result of the votes upon each question.

Id., §17.

§ 924. Ghaillenges. — If any person offering to vote at any
election, or upon any question, arising at such town meeting, shall
be challenged as unqualified, the presiding officers shall proceed
thereupon in the manner prescribed in the fourth title of the sixth
chapter* of this act ; and no person whose vote shall have been re-
ceived upon such challenge, shall be again challenged upon any other
question arising at the same town meeting.

Id., §18.
But as to cballenges, see Laws of 1839, chapter 389, which will be found post.

§925. Minutes of Proceedings.— The minutes of
the proceedings of every town meeting, subscribed by the clerk of
such meeting, and by the officers presiding, shall be filed in the
office of the town clerk, within two days after such meeting.
Id., s 19.

Poll liist to be Filed. — The poU list kept at any election
held according to law in this State, shall hereafter be preserved in
the office of the clerk of said town or city, and shall not be destroyed
.after the canvass of the votes taken at said election.

Chap. 389, Laws of 1839, § 16.

Cba;llenges. — If any person offering to vote at any election
shall be challenged in relation to his right to vote at that election,
by an inspector, or by any other person entitled to vote at the same
poll, one of the inspectors shall tender to him the following pre-

* All of chapter 6, above, was repealed by chapter 130, Laws of 1842.



774 SuPEEvisoKs' Manual.

liminary oath : " You do swear (or affirm) that you will fully and
truly answer all such questions as shall be put to you, touching your
place of residence and qualifications as an elector."

Chap. 130, Laws of 1842, title 4, § 13; chap. 389, Laws of 1839, §C ,

Questions to Persons Challenged.— The inspect-
ors, or one of them, shall then proceed to question the person chal-
lenged in relation to his name ; his then place of residence ; how
long he has resided in the town or ward where the vote is offered ;
what was the last place of his residence before he came into that
town or ward, and also as to his citizenship, and whether a native or
naturalized citizen, and, if the latter, when, where, and in what court,
or before what officer he was naturalized ; whether he came into the
town or ward for the purpose of voting at that election ; how long
he contemplates residing in the town or ward ; and all such other
questions as may tend to test his qualifications as a resident of the
town or ward, citizenship and right to vote at that poll.
Id., §14; id., §7.

Vote, When to be Rejected. — If any person shall re-
fuse to take the said preliminary oath when so tendered, or to an-
swer fully any questions which shall be so put to him, his vote shall
be rejected.

Id., i 15; id., §8.

Qua>lifica/tions« — After receiving the answers of the per-
son so challenged, the board of inspectors shall point out to him the
qualification, if any, in respect to which he shall appear to them de-
ficient.

Id., § 16.

Oath to be Taken if Challenge is not With-
dl'a'wn. — If the person so offering shall persist iti his claim to
vote, and the challenge shall not be withdrawn, one of the inspect-
ors shall then administer to him the following oath : " You do swear
(or affirm, as the case may be) that you have been a citizen of the
United States for ten days, and are now of the age of twenty-one
years ; that yon have been an inhabitant of this State for one year
next preceding this election, and for the last four months a resident
of this county, and for the last thirty days a resident of this election
district ; and that you have not voted at this election." If the per-
son so offering shall be challenged for causes stated in section 2 of



Town Meetikgs. 775

article 2 of the Constitution of this State, the following addi-
tional oath shall be administered by one of the inspectors: "Tou
do swear (or aflarm, as the case may be) that you have not received
or offered, do not expect to receive, have not paid, offered or prom-
ised to pay, contributed, offered or promised to contribute to another,
to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compen-
sation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at this election,
and have not made any promise to influence the giving or with-
holding of any such vote; and that you have not made any bet or
wager, and are not directly or indirectly interested in any bet or
wager depending upon the result of this election." If the person'
so offering shall be challenged on the ground of having been con-
victed of bribery or any infamous crime, the following additional
oath shall be administered to him by one of the inspectors : " Yovl
do swear (or aflirm) that you have not been convicted of bribery or
any infamous crime, or if so convicted, that you have been pardoned
and restored to all the rights of a' citizen."

Id., § 17, as amended by § 11, chap. 240, Laws of 1847, and chap. 138, Laws of
1875; § 2, art. 2, Const.; § 6, tit. 1, chap. 130, Laws of 1842, as added by chap.
354, Laws of 1878.

Vote, Wben to be Rejected.— If any person shall re-
fuse to take the oath so tendered, his vote shall be rejected.

S 19, same title.

The Election of Town Officees.

§ 926. Proclaimation. — Before the electors shall proceed
to elect any town officer, proclamation shall be made of the opening



Online LibraryGeorge Crane MorehouseThe supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe → online text (page 85 of 96)