The legislative authority of the town rests in the town board, which is the governing board of the town.
The town board, among other functions, generally fills vacancies in town offices, elective or appointive; may select a town attorney and a town engineer; appoints constables or police officers; and provides for the hiring of other employees as necessary for the conduct of the town’s business (Town Law, Sections 20 and 64). Certain highway employees are hired by the highway superintendent, but within appropriations authorized by the town board (Highway Law, Section 140 (4)).
The town board adopts a budget, fixes the salaries of officers and employees, establishes rules of board procedure and designates the official newspaper of the town. Other functions are so numerous that only a sample can be given here. The town board may provide for the construction of drainage flood control facilities; provide for towers to be built, at the request of the Department of Environmental Conservation, to watch for forest fires; buy and install traffic control equipment; provide for feeding deer; provide for certain public health services; establish a publicity fund; regulate certain dangerous conditions; sponsor band concerts; compromise or settle claims; call special town elections; license certain occupations; provide for town improvements; establish fire, fire alarm and fire protection districts; create improvement districts; and designate depositories for town moneys. The general powers of the town board are set forth primarily in Section 64 and other sections of the Town Law.
Most of the functions of the town board are set forth in the Town Law. However, some functions are set forth in other statutes such as the General Municipal Law, the Highway Law, the Education Law, the Agriculture and Markets Law, and the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. In addition, town boards may adopt local laws pursuant to the home rule powers granted by Article 9 of the State Constitution and the Municipal Home Rule Law.