Article 12-F, Section 239-x of the New York State General Municipal Law enables the local legislative body of any city, town, or village to establish a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) to advise in the development, management and protection of its natural resources. CACs are strictly advisory bodies.
A local legislative body—common council, town council, village board of trustees—may create a CAC in one of the following ways:
CACs are sanctioned to perform the following activities:
Section 239–x states that CACs shall consist of not less than three nor more than nine members who shall be appointed by the local legislative body and serve at the pleasure of such body for a term not exceeding two years, with subsequent reappointment at the pleasure of the legislative body. Up to two additional members may also be appointed who are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one.
It is important for members to realize that the CAC is an advisory body. The key to an effective CAC is establishing good working relationships with the approval authorities. It is advisable to have a council with a wide range of varying backgrounds and viewpoints with geographic diversity in the town who are willing to cooperate and work as a unified body. The legislative body appoints the chairperson. Members must be willing to meet once or twice a month on set dates.