Proposed Resolution No. 2 for 2016

Resolution No. 2 of 2016

Balancing Rural Character and Open Space Land Protection with Long Term Economic Viability

WHEREAS, the Town of Halcott is partially located within the Catskill Park, and wholly within the New York City Watershed; and

WHEREAS, The Town of Halcott has developed and adopted a Comprehensive Plan and a Land Use Code, which seek to balance open spaces and rural character with economic viability; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Halcott faces continuing financial challenges due to its small population and limited tax base; and

WHEREAS, the expenses of municipal operation escalate at a higher rate than is feasible to accommodate without gradual growth in taxable land improvements; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board, on behalf of future generations of Halcott residents, wishes to ensure that a balance is maintained between preserved open spaces and land available for gradual growth in our town; and

WHEREAS, almost forty percent of the Town is presently under permanent public protection;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of  Halcott, with this resolution, establishes a cap on publically protected land within the municipal boundary either by easement or fee acquisition of fifty percent; when this cap is reached through continuing acquisition funded by NYSDEC or NYCDEP the Town of Halcott requests that all further solicitation for acquisition be suspended. Additional publicly funded land protection beyond this cap will be opposed without significant justification.  New conservation easements on farm land are exempted from this resolution, as they are consistent with the Town’s comprehensive plan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution supersedes all previous agreements that the Town of Halcott has entered into including the relevant provisions of the NYC Watershed Memorandum of Agreement.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk shall forward certified copies of this resolution to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator James Seward, Senator John Bonacic, Senator George Amedore, Assembly Member Aileen Gunther, Assembly Member Kevin Cahill, Assembly Member Clifford Crouch, Assembly Member Pete Lopez, Assembly Member Claudia Tenney, as well as the Clerks of the Delaware, Sullivan, Ulster and Greene County Legislatures, the DEC Commissioner and the NYCDEP Commissioner.

Dear Town members,
I have attached a copy of the agenda for the next Town Board meeting and a resolution on public land under consideration. You will also note from the agenda that we are starting work on the 2017 Town Budget. I will be proposing that the Town Budget contain a cost of living increase for all town positions. Many of salaries for these positions have not been increased in many years and have fallen behind. In order to attract candidates for all the tasks required to run a town government we need to moves these salaries along gradually over the next few years.

The resolution suggesting a cap on public land is under discussion as a means to protect the long term financial  viability of our special town. Gradual growth in our tax base has been critical to  maintaining modest property tax increases in the past while some of our expenses have gone up radically. Health insurance has been and continues to be an expense that increases at a percentage rate of double digits. Finding a balance between publicly protected open spaces that maintain our rural character and having the ability to grow gradually is a major challenge. I think the town should consider expressing a vision that defines the balance.
Please feel free to weigh in on these issues.
Alan White, Supervisor