The Town Clerk's Office is frequently considered the center of town government. It is the office that is responsible for recording all vital records, the activities of town government, as well as storing the documents that are important to the lives of townspeople.
Every town is required by law to have a Town Clerk. The office is normally elective. In Smithtown, the Town Clerk is elected to a four-year term beginning on January 1 in each even-numbered year.
Main Responsibilities & Services
The office of the Town Clerk involves a great variety of different duties and responsibilities that are contained mainly in New York State's town laws, as well as in other statutes.
- The Town Clerk has custody of all the records, books, and papers of the town.
- The Town Clerk is designated by state law as the town records management officer. As the town's records management officer, the Town Clerk coordinates the town's records management program.
- The Town Clerk must attend meetings of the Town Board, act as clerk thereof, and keep a complete and accurate record of the proceedings of each meeting. The Town Clerk is not a member of the Town Board and has no vote on any matters coming before such board.
- The Town Clerk must maintain an Ordinance Book and enter in such book a copy of each ordinance of the town immediately after adoption by the Town Board.
- The Town Clerk shall record and index all local laws a separate book or books.
- The Town Clerk is the filing officer of the town. The filing requirements for many documents with which the Town Clerk is concerned are prescribed by various laws specifying the filing. The following are illustrative of some of the various documents, papers, and records in connection with the operation and administration of town government, which are required by law to be filed with and be on file in the Town Clerk's Office.
A. All oaths of office of town and district officers; oaths of fire police.
B. Petitions for the establishment and creation of special improvement districts.
C. Proofs of all publications and postings of notices where such notices are required to be given.
D. Tentative budget. The budget officer files the tentative budget with the Town Clerk, which after review and modification, if any, by the Town Board becomes the preliminary budget.
E. Annual budget.
F. Annual financial reports of the Supervisor.
G. Audits conducted by the Office of the State Comptroller, or by an independent, outside accounting firm.
H. All written notices received by the Town Highway Superintendent of defects in highways, bridges, or culverts.
I. All written notices of defects in sidewalks.
J. Certificates of abandonment of town highways.
K. Claims against the town.
L. Bond and note registers
M. Ordinance book, minute book, local law book, marriage license book, birth and death register.
N. Maps adopted in connection with a zoning ordinance or amendment.
N. Copies of Bingo and/or Games of Chance financial reports.
- The Town Clerk must procure and maintain a signboard at the entrance to his office for the posting of legal notices of the town.
- The Town Clerk is required to certify to the County Clerk, within 20 days after their appointment, the names and addresses of all appointed officers (except inspectors of election), the date of their appointment, and expiration of their term.
- The Town Clerk must immediately notify the State Board of Elections of the receipt of any resignation from an elective officer, together with the elective date thereof.
- The Town Clerk must issue many types of licenses and permits pursuant to the Town Law, various other laws of the state, and town local laws and ordinances. The Town Clerk shall also have such powers and perform such additional duties as are or may be conferred or imposed upon him by law, and such further duties as the Town Board may determine, not inconsistent with law.