Scott G. Aubertine Website on beautiful Lake Ontario
I Stand Corrected !
At our last town board meeting I read the letter which was sent to the members of the PSC Siting Board. In it I referred to the two surveys which were conducted to gather the town of Lyme residents opinions regarding industrial wind turbines. I wrote, "on both surveys our residents voiced their opposition to the siting of industrial wind farms in the town of Lyme". This was an incorrect statement.
In reviewing the two survey results, which I have long put in the back of my mind, I found that the results of the 2007 survey showed that 52.32% of the respondents were in favor of industrial wind turbines. In the 2011 survey that figure fell to 35.2% in favor.
I find that I now am being accused of being a liar. That is a harsh statement to accuse someone of without "walking a mile in their shoes". I may be forgetful, absent minded, confused or preoccupied but I am not a liar.
I would consider myself preoccupied. As Supervisor, I have many "irons in the fire". I deal with zoning, assessment, youth commission, highway and many other issues. I work with the budget, oversee the town finances and approve payment of bills. I am working on important issues such as the Article 10 process the town is undertaking to such minor issues as what flags to fly at the town boundaries. I have lists of things to do immediately and lists of things that can wait. There is nothing that gives me more satisfaction than to file away my completed list. And, that is what I do, I will file away items and issues I consider done and over with. And, it goes to the farthest and deepest recesses of my mind. Hopefully, never to be brought up again. But if it does, I have it on file. I have learned not to dwell on the things of the past. I have to many other items that need tending to. Obviously, the survey results were one thing that I filed away, and forgot about. To me, the wind issue is over. We have laws in place. Whether you agree with them or not, it is time to move on. Dwelling on this issue, and the survey results, will do no good.
At present, I am working with the town attorney, and engineers, in obtaining intervenor funding so that we can present a strong case to the Article 10 siting board for support of our local industrial wind law. To me, however, this is not a fight about the wind issue. It is a fight for the home rule issue. The fact that I incorrectly mentioned the results of the 2007 survey is a moot point.
Before someone calls me a liar, try walking a mile in my shoes. If you truly are working for a good solution to all of the issues, problems and circumstances that the town Supervisor is dealt, and not dwelling on one particular agenda, then we'll see how well you can handle the preoccupation of multiple tasks.
Yes, I admit to forgetfulness. But that is all.
Lyme passes “small wind” zoning law
By JAEGUN LEE
TIMES STAFF WRITER
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
CHAUMONT — After a lengthy, final debate over restrictions on private wind turbines, the Lyme Town Council adopted Wednesday night new zoning regulations for “small wind” and other renewable energy development.
The vote was 3-2, with Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine and Councilman Donald R. Bourquin opposing.
“Just go ahead and vote on it. The whole thing is useless,” said Councilman Bourquin after advocating several times for reduced setbacks to no avail.
Under the new rules, minimum property line setbacks will be five times the height of the turbine and residents will not be able to install personal turbines taller than 125 feet, including the blades.
Mr. Aubertine, who suggested a turbine setback of 2.5 times the structure’s height as a compromise, said the rules were too restrictive and would effectively “exclude 90 percent” of town property owners from putting up small wind turbines.
Councilman David A. Henderson defended the five-times-turbine-height setback, arguing that it is a safety measure to prevent potential injuries due to ice throw or from turbine blade failures.
“If it excludes 90 percent, I’m sorry, but to me, it’s a safety issue. That’s what zoning laws are for,” Mr. Henderson said, adding that he also deems “reasonable” the height limit which some people have criticized during the process of drafting the law.
Mr. Bourquin shot back, suggesting that the town is discriminating against wind development in particular.
“Sometimes I think we’re putting restrictions on these structures, in the name of safety, that I don’t think we’d be putting on anything else other than wind,” Mr. Bourquin said.
Councilman Daniel J. Villa said his main concern was turbine noise levels and that he was in favor of the law the way it was written.
The maximum power output rating for small wind turbines will be 50 kilowatts and the law caps turbine noise levels at 35 decibels at night, from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., and 50 decibels during the day.
“It’s never going to be perfect for everyone,” Mr. Villa said.
Lyme going through its first reval in 25 years
By JAEGUN LEE
TIMES STAFF WRITER
SUNDAY, MARCH 31, 2013
CHAUMONT — Waterfront property owners and some farmers in Lyme should be seeing a hefty increase in their assessments because of the recent revaluation, according to the town’s chief assessor.
“We haven’t had a revaluation in 25 years,” said Marsha J. Barton, Lyme’s chief assessor. “There was a lot of inequity. And the purpose of the reassessment is to make sure everybody’s paying their fair share.”
Town property owners should be receiving informal assessment notices in the mail reflecting preliminary changes. Tentative assessment rolls are due out May 1.
Many waterfront residents will see their assessments jump fivefold, even sevenfold in some cases, but this does not mean their taxes would increase by the same proportion.
The local tax rate for the town, county and school district combined is projected to decrease to $16.15 per $1,000 of assessed value — from roughly $55 per $1,000 — and the new assessment values should closely match what their properties are worth on the market, Mrs. Barton said.
“What they’re assessed for is what they’ll be able to sell the property for,” she said.
Lyme’s overall equalization rate is at 31 — most likely the lowest equalization rate in Jefferson County, Mrs. Barton said. The equalization rate is a figure set by the state that reflects the percentage of full value of the average assessment in the town. Thus, the state has determined Lyme’s assessments are at 31 percent of full value. The state recommends that the equalization rate be at full market value.
Roughly 3,400 parcels were re-evaluated by town assessors and county appraisal aides and technicians assisted by state staff since the middle of last summer. County staff appraised Lyme properties owned by town assessors, such as the three parcels in Chaumont that Mrs. Barton owns, to avoid any conflicts of interest. “We did not do our own assessments,” Mrs. Barton said. “It’s really as fair and impartial as we can make it.”
Residents can set up meetings with local assessors if they wish to discuss their tentative assessments. Grievance day is May 28.
If residential property owners are unhappy with their assessments after appealing to local assessors, they can ask the town’s Board of Assessment Review to adjust their assessments on Grievance Day, The next step would be to take their cases to small claims court. But commercial property owners must make their case in state Supreme Court.
To set an appointment with a town assessor, call 649-2387.
ARTICLE 10 SECTION 160. Definitions.
Where used in this article, the following terms, unless the context
Otherwise requires, shall have the following meanings:
1. "MUNICIPALITY" MEANS A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE LOCATED IN THIS STATE.
2. "MAJOR ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITY" MEANS AN ELECTRIC GENERATING
FACILITY WITH A NAMEPLATE GENERATING CAPACITY OF TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND
KILOWATTS OR MORE, INCLUDING INTERCONNECTION ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION
LINES AND FUEL GAS TRANSMISSION LINES THAT ARE NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW
UNDER ARTICLE SEVEN OF THIS CHAPTER.
3. "Person" means any individual, corporation, public benefit
corporation, political subdivision, governmental agency, municipality,
partnership, co- operative association, trust or estate.
4. "Board" means the new york state board on electric generation
siting and the environment, which shall be in the department and
consist of seven persons: the chair of the department, who shall serve
as chair of the board; the commissioner of environmental conservation;
the commissioner of health; the chair of the new york state energy
research and development authority; the commissioner of economic
development and two ad hoc public members, both of whom shall reside
within the municipality in which the facility is proposed to be
located, except if such facility is proposed to be located within the
city of new york, then all ad hoc members shall reside within the
community district in which the facility is proposed to be located.
One ad hoc member shall be appointed by the president pro tem of the
senate and one ad hoc member shall be appointed by the speaker of the
assembly, in accordance with subdivision two of section one hundred
sixty-one of this article. The term of the ad hoc public members shall
continue until a final determination is made in the particular
proceeding for which they were appointed.
TOWN OF LYME PARCEL COUNT BREAKDOWN
3514 total parcels
5x SETBACK (22 acres)
225 parcels greater than 20 acres
93.59% of town parcels under 20 acres
2.5x SETBACK (11 acres)
353 parcels greater than 10 acres
83.55% of town parcels under 11 acres
1.25x SETBACK (5.5 acres)
263 parcels 5-9 acres
76.06% of town parcels under 5 acres
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE REASSESSMENT MEANS
With the recent mailings of the preliminary assessments form, it is important to understand how the town budget process works and what the reassessment may mean to you.
Why are we doing the townwide reassessment process? The town has not had a townwide reassessment in twenty five years. Obviously, the price of homes has risen considerably since then. For example, when I bought my home in 1981, I paid $23,000 for it. When I recently needed an appraisal for a remortgaging of my home, it was appraised for $125,000. The townwide reassessment was needed to make sure that all parcels and homes were assessed fairly and equitably for their immediate neighborhood, and to more accurately reflect a more current fair market value.
The town budget is determined by the total taxable assessed value of the town, the amount of revenue needed to operate and the tax rate established to attain that revenue. For these purposes, we will use the figures used to ascertain the Tax Rate for the General Fund. See your tax bill, or the town budget, for all accounts pertaining to you.
For the 2013 budget, the General Fund amount to be raised by taxes was $113,147.00. The taxable assessed value equaled $112,652,246.00. To figure the tax rate per thousand you divide the amount to be raised by tax by the taxable assessed value.
$113,147.00 / $112,652,246 = $1.00439 per thousand tax rate.
The town of Lyme has been at a 31% Equalization Rate for the last few years, and has not been above that figure for many, many years (25?). Most of the towns in Jefferson County are now at a 100% equalization rate. The State of New York desires that all towns and municipalities be at 100% assessment.
In order to be at 100%, we simply agree that we will triple our equalization rate. That makes the State happy, and they will reimburse us to do the reassessment process. To achieve the new equalization rate, and to make sure everyone is assessed fairly and equitably, we have enlisted the help of the Jefferson County Real Property Services. In addition to the tripling of the equalization rate (31%x3)(which is used here for ease of understanding the principle), the Assessors also are basing the new assessments on the recent sale prices of properties and figuring in the fair market values.
To get back to the budget, and how it will affect you and I, we triple the taxable assessed value ($112,652,246 x 3 = $337,956,738). We then assume (expect?) that the amount of revenue needed to pay the bills remains the same ($113,147). We then divide the amount to be raised by revenue by the new taxable assessed value to get our new tax rate.
$113,147 / $337,956,738 = .33479 tax rate
Therefore, a home assessed at $100,000 (100 thousands x $1.00 tax rate) saw a tax bill of $100.00 for budget year 2013 (for the General A Fund). If we triple the assessed value for 2014 to $300,000 (300 thousands x $.33479 tax rate) that same home should see a tax bill of $100.43 (for the General A Fund).
This is the principle, a hypothetical estimate based on last years tax levy and does NOT represent your actual future tax liability. But, it should be close.....if your parcel has not had any unkown improvements or does not reflect the current fair market value.
Remember, this is based on only the General A Fund account figures. There is also the Highway A account and, depending on where you live, you will have an additional Fire Protection account.
IS YOUR ASSESSMENT FAIR?
Fairness and Equity: The Job of the Assessor. Approximately 11 minutes long and gives viewers an overview of the various tasks of the assessor as well as discussing the importance of fair assessments. (WMV - 31.1 MB)
FAIR ASSESSMENTS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Town Council Reaches Tentative Agreement on Small Wind Energy Conversion System Law for Private Homeowners.
Chaumont, January 30, 2013
The Lyme Town Council tentatively agreed on a new law for private windmills at a reconvened joint meeting with the Lyme Planning Board last night at the town municipal building.
The meeting, at times heated, resolved the three main issues of contention. Setback requirements were established at five times the windmill height, as opposed to the twenty five times proposed by the Planning Board. Noise levels from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm must be no higher than 50 decibels. Noise levels in the nighttime, from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am can be no more than 35 decibels. The amount of acres required was dropped from twenty to none as it was felt the setbacks and noise requirements were enough.
Kris Dimmick, Bernier & Carr Associates engineer was present to answer questions for the town council. Mr. Dimmick offered scientific research and calculations which supported the Lyme Planning Board proposals which were based on the Cape Vincent noise and setback law. These findings also corresponded with similar findings by fellow engineers Dave Henderson, Lyme town council member, and Frank Gongel, Lyme Planning Board chairman. The findings, based on "sterile perfect case" laboratory scenarios (developed in a vacuum setting with no air or wind resistance or noise deterrents such as brush, houses and background noise) were taken into consideration by the town council, who also considered "real life" circumstances and the reduction in percentages (once the deterrents are included) of the calculations offered in the "sterile perfect case" scenarios.
Additionally, the town council took into consideration the rural residents in the town who have little land, but no neighbors close by. This was considered in an effort to include as many residents as possible, and not make the law overly restrictive. Those residents, who cannot meet the setback requirements due to a smaller parcel size, have the right to file for a special use permit or variance and can present their case to the Zoning Board of Appeals for review.
The town council will send the proposed law to the town attorney and Jefferson County Planning Board for review, and if able to meet time schedules, set a hearing date at its Februrary meeting.
The Concept of Square Feet
The foot is simply a unit of length. It measures a straight, one-dimenional line of distance. To measure a two-dimensional area, you need square feet. Square feet describes the overall space taken up by a two dimensional space. To calculate square feet, you will need to know the linear dimensions of the area in question.
Calculating Simple Square Feet
The simplest calculation of square feet comes from measuring the area of, well, a square. To calculate the square feet of a square-shaped object, simply multiply the lenght of one side by the length of another. This calculation, linear feet squared, can serve as a very basic definition of square feet.
The town council recently agreed on setbacks for personal windmills of five times the tower height. This means that there must be (on a 100’ tower) 500 feet from the front, back and both sides of the property. Hence, according to the information above, whereby you multiply the length of one side (1,000’) by the length of another (1,000’), you come up with 1,000,000 square feet. Using a square feet to acres converter, the number of acres a homeowner would need to meet the 500’ setback requirements is 22.9568411. Don’t forget, if you own land with less than 22.9 acres and do not have any neighbors close by, you can apply for a variance.
Town of Lyme Parcel Count Breakdown
2099 parcels less than 1 acre
574 parcels 1-4 acres