By Matthew Saari
With the passage of two resolutions providing county employees pay raises, the Washington County Board of Supervisors is set to override the tax cap this year.
And it’s only February.
Hartford supervisor Dana Haff sounded the alarm at a board meeting Friday in Fort Edward.
“By adopting these we will now acknowledge that in the 2019 budget we will exceed the tax cap,” he said. “Payroll is a very large part of our budget.”
None of the supervisors present questioned this and both resolutions were passed in short order.
One resolution provided a 2.32 percent annual increase to county employees enrolled in the Civil Service Employees Association, a labor union consisting of workers in the Departments of Social Services, Motor Vehicles, Information Technology, Department of Public Works supervisors and Probation.
The other resolution provided a 2.49 percent annual increase to the Correction Officers’ Association, a labor union for county corrections officers.
“So already, without buying a box of number two pencils you break the tax cap,” Haff said. “Usually we don’t think we’re going to exceed the tax cap until September.”
In an interview Monday, Haff said this year’s tax cap for the county will be 1.9 percent.
Haff said further pay raises were likely to follow, out of solidarity.
“I doubt that those supervisors that supported Dan Shaw of Easton for county budget officer would have done so if his platform was to override the tax cap,” said Haff. “Payroll is a huge part of the county budget, well over 80 percent, and by accepting the labor unions’ settlement which is a payroll increase above the tax cap, you will bust it just by that alone once you figure in parity for the other non-union workers.”
Haff clarified that he isn’t against giving pay raises to government employees but those responsible for deciding the pay increases need to first examine if such increases are fiscally feasible.
“My premise is you should only pay what you can afford,” he said. “Many citizens are tapped out now regarding their property taxes but that does not seem to bother a lot of supervisors.”
The recently constructed 4G cell phone tower on Dick Hill is up and running bringing an improved signal to many, but there are still a few people that have not seen much in the way of improved signal.
The tower is owned by Horvath Communications and they are leasing space to Verizon. This tower is not exclusively a Verizon one because Horvath is in the business of making money by having providers rent space. The more carriers that are on this tower, the better their bottom line is and justifies building in Hartford. If you are a customer of ATT or Sprint, etc. try calling them and request that they consider coming to the Hartford tower so that you can also get a better signal. This tower can accommodate more than one carrier. Internet and cell is considered a factor in quality of life these days so I would like to see more carriers than just one on this tower.
The Verizon antennas operate on two bandwidths; 1900mHz and 700mHz. The upper band offers clearer cleaner signal but is not as resilient as the lower band. After I communicated with Verizon engineers, they tweeked the tower and increased the 700mHz band to get signal to harder to reach areas. Not all Verizon customers in Hartford will see a benefit. If you live down in a deep shadowed hollow, there is not much help for you other than planting a tall telephone pole and put an antenna atop that to create a hotspot in your house, reminiscent of that TV show Green Acres.
One tip the engineers told me that can help improve your signal is to turn your phone off and then turn back on. Apparently some people never ever turn their phone off, even when charging. Their phone is their alarm clock, watch, etc and is always on. By turning off and then back on it forces the phone to re-search for a new signal. Your phone could be locked on to a weaker signal while ignoring a stronger one. After doing this my daughter’s Samsung Edge went from 1 bar to 4 bars. All just from turning off and back on. It took a few minutes to see the 4 bars as the phone did its searching.
Another thing I discovered by doing a survey in my own house is that it makes a large difference what phone you have. My house has three Verizon phones and they do not all get the same signal strength. Side by side we compared a Samsung Edge and an iphone 5. The Samsung had better signal, so I think a lot of this depends upon what internal antenna the phone was manufactured with. My ancient 12 year old Samsung 3G slider did not see much improvement. I think in order to help that I need to go back in time 12 years when it was considered modern. The tree times I dropped it in my pond over the years and had to dry out in the oven probably has not helped much either.
The Town of Hartford, County of Washington, State of New York is seeking bids for restoration work on its buildings at 55 Hartford Main Street. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places so the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation need to be followed. Bid A is for the rehabilitation and renovation of the Civil War Enlistment Center.
Bid B is for the rehabilitation and renovation of the Elisha Straight museum house.
Please take notice this is a Public Work Project, see bid documents for
the prevailing wage schedule (PRC# 2017011153).
This is municipal work tied to New York State grant funding.
Contractors assume responsibility for all permits.
Bid work documents are available from the Hartford Town Clerk during normal business hours.
All bids are due in a sealed envelope, along with a non-collusion statement, no later than Noon on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Town Clerk’s Office at the Hartford Town Hall, PO Box 214, 165 Hartford Main Street, Hartford, New York. The Hartford Town Board will consider all bids at Hartford Town Hall on March 13, 2018 at 7:05pm and reserves the right to reject any or all bids.
TAKE NOTICE, that I, Denise L. Petteys, the undersigned Collector of Taxes for the Town of Hartford, County of Washington, State of New York, have duly received the tax roll and warrant for the collection of the 2018 Town and County taxes and I will attend at the Hartford Town Clerk’s Office, 165 Hartford Main Street, Hartford, New York 12838, from December 27, 2017 to the end of the collection period, except Sundays and holidays, Tuesday 8a.m. to 5p.m., Wednesday through Friday 8a.m.to 3p.m. and Saturday, 8a.m. to 10a.m., for the purpose of receiving the taxes listed on said roll.
PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE, that taxes may be paid on or before the 31st of January without penalty or interest. On all taxes received after such date there shall be added interest of one (1) percent if paid on or before the 28th day of February and an additional two (2) percent if paid on or before the 2nd day of April, after which the unpaid taxes will be returned to the County Treasurer of the County of Washington in April 2018, pursuant to the provisions of law.
The failure of the property owner to receive a tax bill shall not in any way affect the validity of the taxes, of penalties or relieve the owner of tax obligation.
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that, pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Hartford on December19, 2017, a public hearing will be held by said Town Board on January 9, 2018 at 7:05 p.m. at the Offices of the Town of Hartford, 165 Hartford Main Street, Hartford, New York, to discuss the proposed Local Law to Update Article V of Chapter 124 of the Code of the Town of Hartford and to Opt-Out of all of the Real Property Tax Exemptions from Taxation for the Increase in Assessment due a Taxpayer for Those Certain Energy Systems as Authorized in New York State Real Property Tax Law § 487.
By order of the Town Board of the Town of Hartford, New York, dated December 19, 2017.
The Governor’s office, Senator Betty Little, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, and Washington County Dept of Public Safety will host a Citizen Emergency Preparedness Training Program at the Hartford Firehouse on Monday 11/27/17 from 7pm to 830pm. This class is free to all citizens but you need to register for the class first. First come first serve with limited space because the room will only hold so many. Please register online at www.prepare.ny.org If you have trouble registering when you get to the point of trying to prove you are not a robot, call or text Tim Hardy (WashCo Dept. Public Safety) to register 518-812-9180. There will be some free Emergency items handed out to all participants. Dana
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Hartford Town Board has one (1) full time vacancy on the Youth Commission effective January 1, 2018. Any Hartford School District residents may submit letters of interest and qualifications to the Hartford Town Clerk, P.O. Box 214, Hartford, NY 12838.
PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that all letters need to be submitted by noon on
December 8, 2017 in order to be considered at the Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Town Board meeting.
Signed: Denise Petteys, RMC
Hartford Town Clerk
Dated: November 15, 2017
Washington County will hold a County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Veteran’s day 11/11/17 from 9am to 1pm at the County Municipal Center, 383 Broadway, Ft Edward.
Enter the County center parking lot by the driveway entrance near DMV.
Limit is 200 lbs dry material and 200 gallons of wet material. This is pretty generous so if you have an elderly neighbor, etc. who cannot get there, you can help them out.
Water Based paint like Latex and Acrylic paint is not hazardous and will not be accepted. If you pop off the lid of the can an let it dry out, this can be tossed out with your regular trash. Oil Based paint will be accepted.
Appointment times are suggested to help you want to avoid a long wait. Call WashCo DMV if you have any questions, etc. 518-746-2440
Last year it is estimated that over 13,000 NY residents that were to receive a check in the mail for STAR property tax relief, threw the checks out thinking that maybe it was junk mail.
These checks are due out again starting after Nov 1.
If you qualify for Basic STAR and Enhanced STAR, the checks will come automatically in the mail. Keep an eye out for it and do not throw it away.
In order to qualify for a check, you must;
1) Live in a school district that is under the tax cap.
2) Get either Basic or Enhanced STAR
3) Earn $275,000 or less
4) Have paid your school property taxes in 2017
It is one of those envelopes where you tear off the borders in order to see the mail inside and the return address should say NY State Dept of Taxation and Finance.
Here is a link for more info
Washington County DPW is planning on offering a household hazardous waste collection day for County citizens at the County Municipal Center in Ft. Edward tentative date Saturday Nov 11 9am to 1pm (subject to possible change).
This would be free and is meant to collect old hazardous material you may have hanging around the house that you did not know how to throw away like; Oil Paint, solvents, pool chemicals, acids, old gas and oil mix, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, insecticides, etc.
The County is considering placing limits of 200 lbs dry material and 200 gallons liquids on each vehicle that attends.
This is meant only for residential households, not commercial.
I will have more info and confirm the date in the near future but for the time being, start gathering your stuff together. To my knowledge, the County has never held this before and it may be many years until it is held again. Take advantage of it now.