Tug Hill Commission Local Government Conference, March 27 in Watertown

NYS Tug Hill Commission

25th Annual Local Government Conference

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Jefferson Community College in Watertown

The March 27, 2014 Local Government Conference is an annual event organized by the staff of the Tug Hill Commission attracting as many as 650 local officials from across the North Country.

Workshops on a variety of topics are geared toward village and town board members, clerks, planning boards, zoning boards, highway departments, and assessors.

Registration is by mail only:
$50 if postmarked by 3/5
$75 if postmarked by 3/12
$100 if received after 3/12

Registration form and full conference schedule available online:
www.tughill.org/proj/2014-local-government-conference-2/

New State Funding to Protect Farmland with Zoning Rewrites and Transfer of Development Rights Programs

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced on December 16 two new funding opportunities for Farmland Protection Implementation Projects.

Grants are available to municipalities, including cities, towns and villages, for two purposes:

  1. remove unreasonable restrictions from municipal land use and subdivision regulations, zoning, and site plan requirements pertaining to agricultural land and farm operations,
    AND/OR
  2. establish an implementation-ready Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program for farmland protection.

Maximum funding will be $15,000 per project to a single municipality or $30,000 per project for two municipalities applying jointly. Awarded municipalities will have to provide a 25 percent local funding match. Of that match, at least 20 percent must be in cash; the rest of the match can be in-kind contributions.

A request for applications (RFA) and application materials are available on the website of the Department of Agriculture and Markets at
http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html
Look for the heading for “Farmland Protection Implementation Grants”.

It appears that applications will be accepted immediately, and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until all $500,000 of the available state-wide funds are awarded.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets is hosting three web seminars in January to answer questions and help guide potential applicant municipalities. The dates and times of the webinars will be:

  • January 15, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm
  • January 22, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm
  • January 29, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm

Registration and information about the webinars is available on the Ag & Markets’s RFP web page.

For more information, contact David Behm, Farmland Protection Program Manager, at by phone at (518) 485-7729 or by email.

More news about this round of Farmland Protection Implementation Grants:

Online Survey for update of NYS Historic Preservation

The New York State Division for Historic Preservation is updating the state’s historic preservation plan. The previous plan was a five-year action plan for 2009-2013. Now is the time for a new action plan to provide a blueprint for strengthening and expanding preservation efforts across the Empire State.

The State Division for Historic Preservation is looking broadly for public input. Please help shape the plan by completing this brief survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NYSPreservationSurvey

If you have questions or want more information about the plan update and the survey, contact Amy Facca of the state historic preservation office by phone at (518) 237-8643 ext. 3109 or by email.

Robert Freeman, open government expert, to speak at Cayuga Community College tonight

Robert Freeman is coming to Cayuga Community College on Wednesday evening, December 11, to lead a discussion and forum on how the state Freedom of Information Law and Open Meetings Law keep our government open and effective.

When: 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Where: Irene Bisgrove Theatre, Cayuga Community College in Auburn
Free and open to the public!
Event flyer

Announcement in the Citizen

Understanding the laws around freedom of information and open meetings are essential for local boards and for citizens alike. The rules, and the principles, of open government apply to Town and Village Boards, school boards, planning boards, and any other public body.

Mr. Freeman is both an expert—he helped write New York State’s open government laws and is the executive director of the NYS Committee on Open Government—and an engaging speaker. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about open government in New York State.

Results of the County-wide Ag Plan November Public Meetings Now Available

Thank you to all who attended a public meeting last month for the County-wide Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan update!  There were 86 participants in total, in addition to the 16 steering committee members who attended.  About 60% of the attendees were farmers, while 27 attendees (about 40%) identified themselves as owners of an agriculture-related business. Click here for attendance statistics.

Each meeting started out with a brief introductory powerpoint presentation about the impact of agriculture on our local economy and current trends in agriculture.  Then, attendees formed discussion groups of 10-15 people, facilitated by a steering committee member, county planning staff member, or volunteer.  The discussion groups focused on four questions for fifteen minutes each, breaking in between to report back to the room on what they had discussed. The four discussion questions were:

1. What should our county’s agriculture look like in the next 20 years?

2. What needs and challenges do our farms and agricultural businesses face?

3. What strengths and opportunities will sustain and grow our agricultural economy?

4. How can we ensure farmland is protected for future farmers?

A volunteer note-taker took notes for each discussion group.  Check out the compilation and summary of the discussion notes and the updated project website

To get the latest project updates direct to your email in box, contact project manager Rima Shamieh at rshamieh@cayugacounty.us or (315) 253-1484.