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Legislature renews occupancy tax

YATES COUNTY--The Yates County Legislator voted to unanimously renew a 4 percent occupancy tax on rentals during the Monday, July 11 meeting. Established in 2008, County Administrator Nonie Flynn said the tax has generated millions of dollars for Yates County since being implemented.
"Since 2008 when the law was put into place charging a 4 percent fee on rentals we have collected over 7 million dollars," Flynn commented.
The money has been spent on a wide variety of different programs, all of which Flynn said have been specifically designed to either make improvements for residents or bring in more business.
"The remainder goes to the general fund to keep property taxes down," added Flynn.
The legislature also announced the creation of a new ad hoc committee to explore the possibility of becoming a Constitutional County. Constitutional Counties are a rising trend nationwide and include the passage of a resolution where the legislature vows not to infringe on what they say are constitutional rights and challenge any attempts to do so. Legislators Carlie Chilson and Mark Morris will co-chair.
The legislature also approved a capital improvement plan for the fiscal years 2023-2027 that initially caused a small bit of confusion.
"This is not the budget, this is a capital improvement program for the next five years so the budget officer has amounts to include in the budget for capital improvement projects," said Legislator Douglas Paddock. "This does not talk about how we are going to additionally distribute fund balance. This is strictly a planning document."
Paddock also gave an update on the county's longstanding project to improve emergency communications.
"The expectation is that the equipment will be installed and we will be over to the new system late this year or early next year, but Motorola has to do a coverage check and we want to do that when there are leaves on the trees and that won't be until June or July next year," added Paddock.
At the very end of the meeting, the crypto-currency operation at Greenidge Generation also became a topic for conversation. The renewal of an air permit was recently denied by the state, however the company plans to operate as an appeal is made. Legislator Terry Button said the operation needs local support and the outside criticism is not appreciated.
"The revenue, the things they do help everybody, and when I hear this rhetoric from out of our area even like from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens; they don't run our county, the people in this room run our county and the people and our department heads," said Button.
While the Yates legislature unanimously supported Greenidge in a vote last October, Seneca County leaders recently voted to oppose cryptomining.
"But then when we hear neighboring counties piling on us," added Button. "That is unacceptable. They need to look at some of their issues before they stick their nose in our business because we go above and beyond for our (residents)."

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