Lebanon officials to discuss 2020 town budget Sept. 9, 2019

Possible tax cap override and status of road projects also to be discussed

Submitted by Supervisor James Goldstein

Town of Lebanon officials will discuss 2020 budget challenges and possible override of the town tax cap at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9, due to state actions that have caused loss of revenue for 2019.

The meeting will be held at the Town Office, 1210 Bradley Brook Road, in the hamlet.

The public is invited to attend.

Topics to be focused on at the meeting include:

  • 2020 budget and possibility that the Town need a tax cap override local law for next year’s budget or at least put one in place that the Town Board can choose to either rescind or not move forward on – the town would introduce the local law ideally at the October meeting and adopt it at the November meeting prior to adopting the budget unless budget figures show it not necessary. The big concern right now is the potential loss of $17,000 in casino revenue Madison County has shared with the town the  last two years as well as a drop in county sales tax due to Governor Cuomo’s move to reduce sales tax in exchange for restoration of Aid to Municipalities (AIM) for smaller towns like Lebanon.
  • The casino bill was approved in the State Senate but could not get through the Assembly this year.
  • Evaluation of fire and ambulance contract requests as well as state retirement and other mandates that impact 2020 budget numbers.
  • Briggs Road status as the town prepares to complete this three year state CHIPs funded project that has upgraded the road and added guardrail safety features.
  • County ice and snow agreement – there will be another increase to keep up with rising highway inputs of sand, salt, fuel and wages/state mandated benefits.
  • Most town officials have completed the sexual harassment training – there are a handful who still need to take the training ideally before Oct. 1 by state mandate.
  • Consideration of whether or not the Town should act to improve its current  windmill ordinance and add a solar farm ordinance for very large solar farms given what is happening in Madison County to the town Land Management Local Law changes now being considered after several years of study and review.
  • There has been a significant increase in large solar projects– the Town of Lenox has recently added three solar farms and  there is a massive 800 acre project proposed in the Town of Fenner that has the county looking at more solar farm regulations for large scale solar projects. The concern is loss of farmland and impact on the rural viewscape as well as wildlife. This would not apply to small projects, business, home or farm solar projects. The Town of Lebanon  would continue to simply require permits from the Code Enforcement Officer.
  • Status of code enforcement issues with two pending cases.
  • Looking at schedule for equipment purchase and replacement schedule for 2020 and beyond.

At the August town board meeting, Lebanon officials took the following actions:

  • Reappointed Assessor Brian Fitts to another six year term along with the Towns of Georgetown and Eaton that are part of the Lebanon Coordinated Assessment program. A revaluation scheduled for 2020 was discussed by Fitts and landowners will be initially notified of any changes in their assessment by mail and will have an opportunity to meet with Fitts prior to any final assessment roll, and then there will still be opportunities to question the assessment before Grievance Day, on Grievance Day to the Board of Assessment Review and the option for a filing in small claims court for those who want to pursue it that far.
  • Adopted a resolution honoring the Wedge farm for 100 years and four generations of family farmers.
  • Heard from Bruce Rivington of Kriemhild dairy on the finalization of the expansion of their butter plant and anticipating hiring up to 12 workers eventually  as well as being able to take some milk from local farmers for their butter plant. The expansion was assisted by a grant/loan through New York State and the Partnership for Community Development.
  • Discussed the need to fill vacancies on the planning board and board of appeals that are currently open to any town resident.
  • Discussed finalizing some aspects of the proposed changes to the Land Management Local Law that have to do with reducing require road frontage for residences from 75 feet to 40 feet and also changing the language in the law to stay current with the NYS Fire and Building code.
  • Discussed the status of several code enforcement cases pending court action and completion of the Briggs Road CHIPs project.

Madison County is having its tax auction Sept. 21. There are two properties from Lebanon on the auction block:  4545 South Lebanon Road – a single-family residence built in 1974; the other is rural vacant land on Reynolds Hill Road.

The 4545 South Lebanon Road home is occupied.  The house and lot is assessed for $77,907.

If you have any questions, email or call Supervisor James Goldstein at 315.837.4152 or 315.228.8982.

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