The “Red Book” Guide to Village Government

The Village of Arden Handbook is a guide to Arden government. It contains governing documents, committee descriptions, ordinances and policies in one convenient red binder (the “Red Book”). It was published in 1996 and distributed to all residents. Despite its publication date, the Red Book remains a valuable resource. Copies are available at the Village office during office hours and will be available at Town Meetings starting June 26, 2017.

This website, the government website for the Village of Arden, contains all the information in the Red Book, plus additional and revised information. You don’t need the Red Book to find government information for the Village. But if you want to find updates for all the topics in the Red Book, you can use the interactive Table of Contents below. For instance, the Red Book contents has a heading “Trustees, Officers and Chairs…3”  Page 3 in the Red Book is a list of people and phone numbers from 1996. But, by using the links in the interactive Table of Contents, you will be directed to the names of the current trustees, officers and committee members on the town government website.

This project was completed by Cecilia Vore in June 2017. See the article below the Interactive Table of Contents for more background about the Red Book and how its content is connected to the town website.

The Village of Arden Handbook
Interactive Table of Contents

Use the links below to find additional and updated information on this website. 

Town Assembly

Trustees, Officers & Chairs

Policies and Procedures /General Information  This is a catchall section in the Handbook, including a few committees, some policies, some facilities and procedures. The following are the subheads in this section, with their links to current material.
ArchivesCommittee meetingsElections & ReferendaField TheatreFund DisbursementGarbage Collection • Hunting see the Arden Lease and Ordinance 7 • Land Rent see the Trustees page re: payment; see the Board of Assessors re: the process • Lease ManagementLeasehold TransfersLong-Range Planning • Lot Splitting contact the Arden trustees  • Memorial Garden • Parking, Motor Vehicles & Traffic see Ordinances 1 and  13  • Police/SafetyRecyclingSafety Signage • Taxes see the Trustees page (especially the document, “Welcome Letter from the Trustees of Arden”) and the Assessors page • Ticketing / Safety violations see Ordinances 1 and  13 • Town Watch (currently inactive)TrashTree Removal on leaseholds • Tree Removal on Village land • Use of Commons see Ordinance #4Village Center (also link to the BWVC Committee page) • Voter EligibilityZoning & Building Permits



Act to Reincorporate The Village of Arden
(also called the “Town Charter”)

Deed of Trust

Arden Lease

Village Map 

Here is a link to the Google map of the Ardens.

In creating this interactive link between the Red Book and this government website, every effort has been made to make sure that ALL the basic information in the Red Book is on also on website. There is no intention to revise the Red Book; the website is now the source for government information. Every effort is made to keep web content current.


More about the Red Book and this “update”

In 1996 the Legislative Reference Committee published its Village of Arden Handbook, a 47-page document whose purpose was “to bring together, in one document, all the governing information of the Village.” The committee had been established by the September 1987 Town Assembly just for this purpose. The resulting guide, in a red binder, was distributed to every leasehold and was a substantial contribution to town government. The Legislative Reference Committee was also tasked with maintaining the information in the Handbook, updating it annually as needed with new ordinances, policies, committees, etc. The Handbook was created as a living document, its looseleaf binder format lending itself to updates.

The Legislative Reference Committee had a second responsibility — “to serve as parliamentarian at Town Assembly meetings.” This was a fitting assignment, given the committee’s knowledge of the governing documents and legislation.

Committees change as members retire, move to other committees or move away. Committee activity changes as well, as issues arise, demanding more or less time of their members and requiring changing skill sets. The Legislative Reference Committee, having finished a monumental assignment, never quite developed a method or will for maintaining the Red Book. By 2005, the committee was rarely meeting. The Legislative Reference Committee was dissolved by a motion presented by the Advisory Chair at the January 23, 2006, Town Meeting. The responsibility of codifying government documents was given to the Town Secretary.

The 20 years since the Red Book publication have been an information revolution. The Internet has made it possible for municipalities to provide information to their citizens with speed and convenience. Information can be updated regularly and distributed instantly. Citizens have access to government information on their cell phones. Public libraries provide universal access. Arden now has a government website with the same goal as the Handbook: to bring together all the governing information of the Village. In fact, the Village of Arden Handbook became the foundation of the Village government website. All the work of the Legislative Reference Committee — Hugh Roberts, Brooke Bovard, Tom Hornung, Yvonne King, Steve Tanzer and others— didn’t end with the printing; they did create a living document. In essence, the Red Book has evolved into the town website; it has been updated. The Town Secretary and the committees continue to update information without the drudgery and delays of printed revisions.

Is there still a use for the boxes of 20-year-old red binders in the town office? Maybe. The Red Book contains the Village’s three principal governing documents: the Act to Reincorporate, the Deed of Trust, and the Arden Lease. It also contains descriptions of most committees, duties of officers, and many procedures and policies. Many residents (the older ones, like me, perhaps?) continue to consult their dog-eared, flagged, notated copies of the Red Book. I’m not quite ready to trash all the red binders.

So this is my solution. I did it with while consulting with the Advisory Committee and the Town Secretary, who approved its posting on the website, but the product is my own. I’ve been active in town government since I moved here in 1981. I have served on and chaired both the Community Planning and Registration committees. Professionally and temperamentally, I am a graphic designer, obsessed with combining space (both paper and screen) and information. I hope that this connection between the printed document of 1996 and our government website will revive the usefulness of the older document and provide an additional way to get to the information residents need.

Cecilia Vore, June 27, 2017