LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Town Council approved a limited English proficiency plan to put the town’s policy and practices in offering translation/interpretation services for those who don’t speak English into writing.
At Monday’s town council meeting, Town Administrator Phil Williams said the plan is designed to show what communication assistance the town will provide for people who only speak Spanish.
Williams said that Utility Director Gary Freeman encounters about two or three Spanish-only speakers a week and Police Chief James Fansler said his department has about 10 per week.
The town already has procedures in place, but this plan puts into writing what the town is doing to communicate with non-English speakers.
On the council chambers television, Williams showed that the town’s website can be changed from English to read in Arabic, French, German and Spanish.
He noted that bilingual town employees are called in when assistance is needed with citizens who don’t speak English.
“It’s just making it more culturally friendly,” he said.
Fansler said the town’s grant reviewers have requested a written limited English proficiency plan. It may become a requirement.
Councilwoman Debra Worley asked, “You are saying our granting ability is starting to be affected because we don’t have this plan?”
The council voted 3-1 to approve the plan with Councilwoman Arlene Tuck casting the sole “no” vote.
“I think if you live in America you should speak English,” Tuck said.
“I didn’t like it, but I voted,” Councilman Ray Royce said.
Worley said, “I didn’t like it either.”
Williams said if the matter is ever brought up he wants to be able to say the town has a limited English proficiency plan especially when it was something so easy to develop.
According to the plan, persons with limited English proficiency will be informed of the availability of free interpretation and translation services when it appears that the they are not able to communicate effectively in English.