County Legislature Session Summary for September 23, 2010

County Legislature Session Summary for September 23, 2010

The Broome County Legislature held a Regular Session on Thursday, September 23, 2010. Prior to the session, County Executive Barbara Fiala presented her 2011 Recommended Budget which the Legislature will now review over the next seven weeks through a series of public hearings, review sessions and special meetings. The Executive’s $354M budget contains a property tax increase of 5.35%, a spending increase of 0.38% and the elimination of 115 positions for a savings of over $6.7M including positions eliminated since 2009. The proposed budget would result in the average household assessed at $80,000 seeing an increased county tax bill of about $50. All budget documents and review schedules are available on the legislature’s website under the Budget Documents tab.
 
During the session, a local law sponsored by Legislator Jason Garnar establishing a partial county property tax exemption on an increased assessment resulting from home improvement projects ranging between $3,000 and $80,000 and completed between March 1, 2011 and March 1, 2012 was again delayed, this time to the November 18th session. A local law establishing terms limits for legislators was amended and was held-over under the rules of the Legislature.
 
A resolution designating the County Legislature as lead agency with respect to a generic lease of natural gas rights on County owned land was also held-over until the October 21st Session. Environmental Conservation Law, Section 8 requires a State Environmental Review Act (SEQRA) review to be completed for leases of 100 acres or more by public bodies. As Broome County may in the future execute a lease of more than 100 acres, the County is required to complete a SEQRA assessment on the action of executing a lease. This assessment is separate from the review the DEC will require for the action of drilling for natural gas. If County owned land is leased, it may or may not be developed for natural gas production. If the land is developed, it would require the lessee to apply for a permit from New York State and an additional SEQRA review by the DEC to include the environmental concerns associated with natural gas wells. 
 
This resolution is only the first step in the County’s review of the leasing of County owned land. Further information gathering will be needed after which a draft findings statement based on the data would be produced and then a declaration based on those findings. This resolution does not approve a lease or review the environmental effects of natural gas drilling.
Draft resolutions, meeting notices, agendas, minutes and all other legislative business are available on the legislature’s website under the Legislative Business tab at: www.gobroomecounty.com/legis
                                                                          
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09/24/2010 - 1:49pm