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Yates legislators hear details about farmland

PENN YAN—Yates County legislature finance committee chairman Taylor Fitch spoke about one of the resolutions considered by the group during the June 8 meeting of the group. The resolution noted Yates County has received $1,886,209 from the Department of Agriculture and Markets for Farmland Preservation. Fitch said, “We often get criticized for spending money. This is a pass through. It increases our spending, but has no effect on the Yates County budget. There are many things that are pass throughs.
Legislator Debra Flood said in a discussion she had heard the property cannot be farmed. Peter Landre, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Yates Association, said farmland preservation program is an agriculture conservation easement. Any agriculture or agriculture processing may be done on the property and it stays on the tax rolls. Flood said, “Forever grown upon. I want to make it really clear; it will never be anything but agriculture.”
Legislator Dr. Tim Dennis said, “This is a significant development. New York state is seventh in the United States in prime farmland along with New England. In New York.” Speaking about farms in the Farmland Protection Program, Dennis said, “This is protecting valuable farmland. They are taxed at their ag value, just as they are now.” He said agriculture is also important to tourism in the county.
Wilson Farms in the town of Torrey and Gillette Farms in the town of Jerusalem are the two farms included in this grant. They total nearly 400 acres. The program provides for a 75 percent cost share for the total project cost and the remaining 25 percent to be funded by the landowner.
In other business: Amended and appropriated additional funding to Hunt Engineers in the amount $26,900 for an engineering study to determine the infrastructure needs related to the redevelopment of the Penn Yan Marine Property on the Keuka Outlet in Penn Yan. Fitch said the village came to Yates County asking if the county would contribute. This is taxpayer money. We hope to we will get it back when the property is sold. Yates County became owner of the 14-acre site due to nonpayment of taxes.
• Authorized the county treasurer to make a payment in the amount of $5,600 to the Dundee Area Youth Center. Legislator Nancy Taylor abstained. County administrator Sarah Purdy said she had received a letter today indicating the organization’s funds are running low and requesting the amount that was allocated in the county budget rather than waiting until the July meeting for approval.
• Approved the Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2010 to 2014. Fitch commended the highway department for delaying a request for a purchase of large equipment last year to assist in the budget process.
• Fitch thanked the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars for donating $975 to purchase gasoline to transport veterans to appointments. He said the project was funded by veterans service director Earle Gleason to help pay for gas and the donation was very generous on the part of the veteran’s organizations.
• Legislature chairman Robert Multer appointed Larry Christensen and William Dragon to the Flint Creek Small Watershed Protection District Administrative board for terms ending March 15, 2011.
• Adopted a new Yates County Real Property Tax service fee schedule for various products that the office offers for purchase.

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