Supervisors seek NYSAC support to equalize for unpaid Cayuga Nation taxes

Supervisor Bob Shipley called on the Seneca County Board of Supervisors to pass two resolutions under Rule 29 of the Rules of Order regarding the Cayuga Nation and Indian Affairs at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

The first, which was the Board passed unanimously, calls on the New York State Association of Counties to support Seneca County in its seeking of fair compensation for unpaid property taxes from New York State. For the past 154 years, the Cayuga Nation has refused to pay any property tax or retail sales tax.


For three decades, the State has been reimbursing Seneca County for the property taxes and paying for the legal fees in Native American matters involving the County. However, this year, those payments have ceased. In 2022 alone, the amount would exceed half of a million dollars in these properties’ County, town, and school district property taxes.

The second shows a support motion in the resolutions approved by the NYSAC Native American Affairs and Gaming Standing Committee:

  1. Call on New York State to make all municipalities whole affected by both the State and Seneca Nation Dispute.
  2. Call on the State to make all municipalities whole in the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Gaming Region that have Been Impacted by the State’s Lack of Payment.
  3. The resolutions address calling the State to equitably distribute gaming revenue to all New York Counties.

Public Comment

Linda Zwick of the Varick Fire Department called on the Supervisors to create and approve a resolution of support needed for a new bill Senator Pamela Helming is crafting. This bill would provide the opportunity for towns, school boards, villages, and fire districts to offer a 10% assessment exemption for volunteer firefighters. Zwick stated that it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteers, and offering them this exemption could improve morale. Those who volunteer would need to serve two years before the exemption and own property.

The Board has a seven-week window to approve this resolution and forward it to Senator Helming and is planning to pass Zwick’s request to the Finance Committee to calculate the cost of this measure.


Water and Sewer

  • The Board authorized the creation of a sewer district for users along Route 414 after its recent acceptance of ownership of the existing sewer line, with a budget of $20,000 provided for its creation. The Board approved County Supervisor Mitch Rowe to seek consulting services for the district’s formation.
  • An amendment to the fee schedule for the health department to charge for septic system contractor and certified wastewater inspector registrations was approved. Septic system contractors and installers will pay $100 annually, inspectors will pay $300 for a three-year initial certification, and three-year recertification will cost $150.

Solid Waste

The Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council has been awarded the consulting agreement for $70,433 to help address the County’s Local Solid Waste Management Plan. The plan’s goal is to “reduce the amount of solid waste destined for disposal by preventing its generation and increasing reuse, recycling, composting, and other organic recycling methods.”

Contracts

  • Contract with Glove House, Inc for child welfare related services in the amount o $630,012
  • Contract with Worldwide Travel Staffing Limited to provide nursing assessment services for Personal Care Aide and Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Programs in the amount of $750 per assessment and capped at $30,000 annually


Awards/Grants

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service awarded $265,500 to the County to restore a section of County Road 150 in Covert after flood damage in 2021. Seneca County will be responsible for meeting the 75% contribution with a 25% match for $85,500.
  • The New York State Department of Health awarded the County’s health department $37,600 for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Grant.
  • New York State Department of Health Immunization Action Grant for $31,050
  • The NYS Office of Children and Family Services provides a $53,875 grant to the Seneca County Community Counseling Center to support domestic violence services.


Appointments/Positions

  • Tiffany Folk reappointed the Election Commissioner for a four-year term starting January 1, 2023
  • Tiffany Folk and Dale Freier to the Seneca County Board of Health
  • Harriet Haynes as the Fair Housing Officer
  • Jeffrey Trout was appointed as the Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension Board representative.
  • The Board approved creating and filling a full-time psychiatric nurse in the mental health department. The salary will be $29.25 per hour and is included in the 2.8 million dollar SAMHSA grant budget.
  • The Board did not approve creating and filling a full-time human resources assistant in the personnel department. Supervisor Ferrara, who introduced and supported the resolution, stated that he had faith in the department to make such an evaluation. Supervisor Rhinehart expressed his reasoning for opposing, which included the lack of foresight during budget sessions last fall. Supervisors Borst, Kronenwetter, Rhinehart, D. Trout, and Shipley voted against the measure.

Body Cameras

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Department will receive 20 new body cameras from Axon Enterprises. The cost will be $27,163.94 for 2022 and $135,819.69 over the life of the five-year contract.

Mask Policy

The Board resolved to rescind the Universal Mask Policy passed on September 14, 2021.

Public Hearing

A public hearing was established for the Community Development Block Grant Program for Seneca Dairy Systems, LLC for $600,000. The hearing will take place on April 12 at 6 PM at the Seneca County Office Building.


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