FREWSBURG–The Carroll Town Board has been advised to pursue future legislation regulating potential industrial wind turbine projects.
Chautauqua County Health Board President Tom Erlandson addressed newly-elected Carroll Town Supervisor Russell Payne and those in attendance for a town board meeting on Wednesday evening on the issue.
“These projects are happening in communities where we under New York state public health law are charged with protecting the health of our residents,” Erlandson said, quoting from a letter that was sent to several Chautauqua County municipalities. “The important thing is that we really need to get ahead of the game, because once the industrial wind turbine companies come to a town it is too late to pass our own legislation dealing with this subject.”
Erlandson spoke of the need to pursue local legislation for wind energy projects before industrial turbine companies make the first move. To his knowledge, no such companies have contacted the town as of yet. Erlandson cited the example set by the town of Randolph in Cattaraugus County as a positive model for moving forward, one in which the town addressed the issue early.
“The Chautauqua County Board of Health believes that any project of this nature and magnitude should only be considered following a complete and transparent process. Including all of the standard environmental and health impact studies and local input,” Erlandson said, speaking of projects that are greater than 25 megawatts.
The town board voted unanimously to approve the authorization to sign and expend highway funds for 2020.
Laurie Sorg of the Carroll Assessor’s Office informed residents of recent changes regarding the Enhanced New York State School Tax Relief Program, commonly known as STAR.
The Enhanced STAR program offers increased benefits for the primary residences of citizens over the age of 65.
“We have found in the last week that there are people getting notices from New York state that they need more information from them before they can approve their Enhanced STAR for next year,” said Sorg.
The program once relied on local assessors for information on the income of residents in the Enhanced STAR program. That responsibility has now been taken on by New York state.
“Anyone that is 65 years of age or older that had previously been on the Enhanced STAR program for their school discount. Last year they had to sign a form authorizing New York state to automatically check their income,” said Sorg.
More information on this issue and other changes related to tax benefits for those 65-and-over can be found by visiting the Carroll Assessor’s Office, which has changed its hours from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on the last Thursdays of January and February.
Sorg advised those in attendance to fill out any official New York state income forms they may have received regarding the STAR program.
District 16 county legislator John Davis, R-Frewsburg, addressed those in attendance at the meeting on the issue of banning plastic bags.
“Although I do support environmental causes and things that are good for the environment I will not be supporting a five cent per bag fee. My feeling is that that is simply a tax on the residents,” said Davis.
In his understanding, a tax would likely involve local municipalities collecting funds, some of which would be retained and some of which would have to be sent to New York State.
Should legislation of this type come up, Davis stated that he will not support it.
Carroll Highway Superintendent Jim Mitchener spoke on the impact that unseasonably pleasant weather has had on his department, as well as recent improvements.
“This past month has been a real great boon for the Highway Department,” Mitchener said. “We have gotten through the holidays with no major snow events. The mild winter has helped us stay ahead of our routine maintenance. So we’ve been working on repairing the water damage that happened back in June to the highway department garage. Our upstairs bathroom is completely re-done, we are now working on the break room and the downstairs bathroom that were ruined. We are making progress with them.”
Mitchener also noted that at some point in the future he will need a resolution from the town board on the county shared services agreement to continue working with other municipalities.
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