This past week I was able to attend the Common Ground Alliance Conference at Gore Mountain. This group was created years ago to be a forum to discuss issues and help find common ground between state and local government, business owners, and residents. I was able to sit in on a couple of great breakout groups. The first discussed the broadband/cell phone issue and the other about the housing crisis. The information about broadband and cellular buildout issues brought about a lot of the issues that are discussed regularly in the monthly zooms I attend. The fees and regulations that are put in place by New York State hamper the profitability of companies to reach the last mile and to deploy cell towers. Leading the discussion was a representative from the NYS Connect All office, an expert on the subject from ADK Action, a representative from DANC (Development Authority of the North County), and Assemblyman Matt Simpson. In the second breakout group, Allison Hargrave-Gaddy from the LCLGRPB discussed the recent housing study and the issues the area faces. Darren Scott from the NYS Office of Homes and Community Renewal described some of the projects NYS is supporting through programs and grants. I will be scheduling a time for Mr. Scott to visit the Town of Jay and give us his suggestions to present to the Economic Development Committee. I was also able to catch up with Assemblyman Billy Jones to discuss a possible funding opportunity to resurface the tennis/basketball courts at Douglas Memorial Park in Jay.
The Town Board worked through budget workshops on Wednesday and Thursday evening. We discussed each line of the budget and discussed changes that ended up in a reduction of the increase in the Tax Levy from the Tentative Budget of 22.5% to a Preliminary Budget Tax Levy increase of around 7.5%. We are still working to finalize some numbers due to final quotes of insurance and employment benefit rates. The biggest driving factor in this budget is the increase in payroll and the increase in health insurance rates. More details will be released as the Preliminary Budget is finalized.
Lastly, the Community Center hallway will be transitioned into a spooky walkthrough for the kids from AuSable Forks Elementary this coming week. We will also be open for Halloween evening to visit and walk through. More information about this event will be available soon.
Hope you have a great week,