Financial Factors Continue to Stress Town Governments
From the Association of Towns Executive Director: Gerry Geist
For the third year in a row, the allowable tax cap levy inches closer to zero, making the budget process a balancing act like we’ve never seen. We should be easing into summer on the heels of another legislative session, but municipalities are feeling more stress than ease from the myriad financial pressures facing municipal governments of all sizes. With the tax cap trending toward zero – at 0.73 percent for 2016 and confirmed .68 for 2017 – the remedies and options towns have to meet the needs of their citizens are rapidly diminishing. The New York State Pension System fund barely broke even in the last fiscal year, returning only .19 percent due to market volatility. Today’s impact of lower returns will undoubtedly be felt in the coming years, causing the contribution rates of localities to rise. The tax cap structure does not permit exceptions or carve-outs for expenses that are state-imposed or contractual obligations. Therefore, before a supervisor and a town board even address their own local expenses, they need to account for state-imposed mandates and binding expenses (such as pension and health insurance payments). Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s response to our cries for real relief from unfunded state mandates was announced at a press conference in mid-May. His solution is two-fold: spend less money at the local government level and consolidate smaller communities with neighboring municipalities, a solution that unfortunately misidentifies the central issue and belies the circumstances facing New York towns. Several promising legislative proposals that could provide real relief to what ails us were introduced this past session. They failed, however, to even make it to the governor’s desk. These proposals sought to provide comprehensive mandate relief, create new revenue streams and to rework the tax cap formula. That is why I can’t stress enough the importance of getting the undivided attention of your state representatives to let them know our day-to-day issues and problems. Whether it is making the tax cap a flat 2 percent or increasing aid to localities through AIM, new programming must be enacted sooner rather than later if we are to be able to keep providing our citizens essential services at a high level. I am pleased to report that attendance at our finance schools was up dramatically this year. These opportunities to learn about new methodologies and exchange ideas with fellow town officials only make us stronger and more unified as we prepare to work together to help address these issues. We in town government know full well that just continuing the budgetary ways of the past is no longer a viable option. All reports indicate that the financial reserves are being depleted, services reduced and the nature of the workforce is changing. The State of New York does not suffer from financial crisis and has the means and ability to assist our localities with new funding. As you sit in meetings formulating your budgets to afford your citizens the best quality of life possible, I urge each and every one of you to consider sending a letter to the legislators and the governor detailing all of the implications and consequences we are facing because though the legislative session has ended, our work is not done.
NEW TRANSFER SITE HOURS OF OPERATION:
Effective April 1, 2016 the Town of Lyme Transfer Site will be open from 9am-4pm on Wednesday and Saturday and from 9am-6pm on Sunday. On Tuesday and Friday the Transfer Site is open from 9am - 1pm.
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM MAPPING APPLICATION (GIS)
The Town of Lyme is pleased to announce today's launch of DANC's new and improved version of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Internet Mapping Application. This upgrade is more user-friendly and intuitive, with enhanced functionality and new tools and features.
Working in concert with six other Jefferson County communities, Lyme contracted with the Development Authority of the North Country to map infrastructure in the Town’s water districts. These maps are accessible through an internet-based GIS which facilitates efficient access to information on critical water infrastructure serving 250 Town users. In addition to water infrastructure, the GIS contains aerial imagery and parcel data for areas of the Town not served by water. The Town of Lyme has made the GIS open to the public. Users can access the system by visiting the Development Authority of the North Country’s website and clicking on the ‘Launch DANC GIS Application’ button on the top of the webpage.
Building Project in Your Future?
Don’t Forget the Permit
As promised, spring has arrived! Now that a lot of us are feeling the urge to repair or expand one of our most valuable investments, our property, a reminder that many building projects need a zoning and building permit.
Since we offer zoning and building permit services at our Lyme Town Office, we are a "One Stop” Department, saving you a trip to Watertown. Most permits are easily obtainable and usually only take several days. To expe-dite your permit process, the following items will be needed. When you come it would be helpful to have your application completely filled out, a recent property survey map, and an accurate sketch of the new structure and its location on the property. Buildings located in known flood zones will also require an elevation certificate available only from a surveyor. The final step will require that the new structure be "staked out" to indicate its location on the property.
As a quick reminder, structures need to be properly setback from adjoining property lines. Consult with our office for the setbacks that apply to your property. We are always available to help you have an enjoyable and successful building experience. Tell us how we my help!
Jim Millington, ZEO/CEO The Town of Lyme Building Office Cell- (315) 777-6115
KEEP OUR TOWN CLEAN
PLEASE DO NOT LITTER
NY CLS Veh & Tr § 1220 (2004) Litter Law
Throwing refuse on highways and adjacent lands prohibited (a) No person shall throw, dump, deposit or place, or cause to be thrown, dumped, deposited or placed upon any highway, or within the limits of the right of way of such highway, or upon private lands adjacent thereto, any refuse, trash, garbage, rubbish, litter or any nauseous or offensive matter. (c) A violation of the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 and/or a requirement to perform services for a public or not-for-profit corporation, association, institution or agency not to exceed 8 and for any second or subsequent violation by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or a requirement to perform services for a public or not-for-profit corporation, association, institution or agency not to exceed 8 hours.
At it's meeting on Wednesday, September 10th, the Lyme Town Board passed a resolution requiring the use of punch cards to pay for tipping fees at the Transfer Site. Two months ago, the Town Board passed a resolution to accept only credit/debit cards or checks at the facility. After being informed that the town must accept cash payments, the decision was made to return to the punch card payment system used by the Town several years ago. Residents who wish to pay by cash, may now purchase a punch card at the Town Office which they can take with them to the transfer site to pay for tipping fees or they may purchase a punch card at the transfer site by paying with a credit card or check. The punch card program meets with the Comptroller's recommendations for accepting cash payments. The punch cards should be available by October 1, 2014. We thank our residents for your patience and understanding in this matter as we work to reduce the cash on hand at the transfer site and ensure the safety of our Transfer Site employees.
CASH PAYMENTS NO LONGER ACCEPTED AT TRANSFER SITE
In an effort to ensure the safety and well being of our transfer site employees, a decision has been made to begin accepting credit, debit cards or personal checks only at the transfer site. The board understands a transition period will be needed to educate everyone to this change and has determined that a one month grace period will be given. Effective September 1st, cash payments for tipping fees will not be accepted. Please remember to bring your credit or debit card, or a personal check, with you when you have items which requirement payment.
NEW LINK ADDED TO OUR WEBPAGE
A new link has been added under our "MORE" header that will take you to important emergency information. Important personal emergency information has been added. New information will be added as it is gathered. The Town, along with the Fire Departments, Village officials and local residents will be developing an Emergency Management Plan to follow in the event of a chemical, natural or terrorist occurrence.
TRANSFER SITE REQUIREMENTS
ALL LOADS (COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL) MUST BE TARPED According to NYS DEC laws, all transport of materials to the Town Transfer Site must be covered or confined (tied down). Please respect the State littering law and be respectful of those residents living along your route to the Transfer Site. Let's all work to keep our town roads clean. Subpart 360-1: General Provisions - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "Solid waste must not be accepted at a solid waste management facility unless the waste is adequately covered or confined in the vehicle transporting the waste to prevent dust and blowing litter."
From The Lyme Building & Codes Office
As a reminder to all our residents and contractors, a Zoning and Building Permit is required for most types of construction and change of property use projects. Some examples are: Some types of remodeling, New construction, Roof replacement, Fence construction, Heating equipment installation, Wood burning stoves, Wind and Solar Generation Systems, and Demolition. Please check with our office regarding your project for further information. As your Zoning and Building Code Enforcement Officer, I am always available to assist our residents and contractors in assuring that your building projects are safe, successful, and code compliant. When you “Build to Code” your project will be safe, and have lasting value. Our regular hours are: Tuesday from 8:00 AM to Noon, and Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. My office phone number is (315) 649-2788. My cell phone number is: (315) 777-6115. I look forward to serving our residents and contractors in this place we call “Paradise”, The Town of Lyme.
Jim Millington, ZEO/CEO
PRINT FISHING LICENSES FROM HOME
New York offers some of the best fishing in the country. With trout and salmon fishing season starting April 1st – just around the corner – it is easier than ever this year for New Yorkers to be ready to enjoy great outdoor fishing on opening day.
For the first time, you can now purchase and print a fishing license from home by visiting licensecenter.ny.gov. New York State has also reduced fishing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and expanded fishing clinics as part of the state’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative. Fishing Access Sites located in the town of Lyme are at the NYS boat launch in Chaumont, the NYS boat launch in Three Mile Bay and the newly renovated boat launch at the Isthmus on Point Peninsula.
Anglers, consider investing in a lifetime fishing license that can be converted to an Adventure License and be eligible to receive a free adventure license plate for your vehicle in one of nine designs.
Transfer Site Changes Changes are underway at the town transfer site in how we handle recyclables. In a cost savings measure, the town has contracted with the County for the pickup of recyclables. County requirements are very strict in the enforcement of sorting and separating recyclables. Dumpsters have been supplied for plastics, corrugated cardboard, soft cardboard, glass, paper and tin cans. Transfer site employees will no longer be handling recyclables inside the building. Residents are asked to comply with the new requirements and exhibit patience and understanding while we work to operate similarly to many other town transfer sites in the county.