November 11, 2010
New York

Henderson bans wind development

By Sarah Haase, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, 11 November 2010

HENDERSON – The Town Council has made Henderson the first north country municipality to ban commercial and private wind-energy towers.

On Wednesday, the council voted 4-1 to adopt a local law written by the law firm Hancock & Estabrook LLP, Syracuse, that bans all commercial, private and wind measurement tower placement. Councilman Frank W. Ross voted against the law. Supervisor Raymond A. Walker, Councilwomen Torre J. Parker-Lane, Carol A. Hall and Councilman Steven C. Cote voted in favor of the measure.

The law was tabled at an Oct. 26 meeting because some wording contradicted other elements of the statute. Those contradictions have been fixed since that meeting.

Ms. Parker-Lane said eventually the town would like to allow private wind towers, but until the board is able to work out those details, the ban will remain in effect.

The council, responding to public criticism of the proposed 2011 budget, also presented a spending plan reduced by 3.3 percent, from $2,389,246 to $2,309246. The levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, was reduced 56 percent, from $224,844 to $98,844. Town treasurer James E. Yuhas said the new proposed levy includes four chargebacks added by the county totaling $41,000.

Before the reductions and after the public hearing on Oct. 26, the proposed tax rate increased from 80 to 82 cents because of the chargebacks, Mr. Yuhas said.

“The numbers from the county are always changing,” he said. “They came back with a 2-cent increase about a week ago. The chargebacks are for workers’ comp, tax roll and tax mapping.”

The council, however, was able to reduce that new proposed tax rate by 61 percent, from 82 cents to 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The council unanimously approved the budget.

Supervisor Raymond A. Walker said an additional $87,000 will be added to the fund balance because of an increase in sales tax revenue for 2010. The council also cut $80,000 from four line items.

Ms. Parker-Lane recommended cutting legal services 23 percent, from $65,000 to $50,000.

“I’m not happy about it, but I’d drop it, reduce it by $15,000,” she said.

The board also agreed to cut from town building equipment expenses by 6.6 percent, from $300,000 to $280,000.

Highway Superintendent Harold R. Nelson said the board could reduce highway spending for equipment and snow removal.

“These cuts won’t affect us too bad,” he said. “We’ll survive. You just have to use your head.”

The board reduced snow removal spending by 11 percent, from $225,000 to $200,000.

“We just got a rebid back for that and we knocked off some of the things that we really didn’t need,” Mr. Nelson said.

The board cut highway equipment spending 10 percent from $200,000 to $180,000.

“These reductions will help the whole town,” Mr. Nelson said. “I’m a taxpayer too.”

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