Extending a sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County, a pact that is set to expire in February 2018, would be in the "best interest of the city and residents of the county," City Manager Jason Molino said to City Council at the governing body's Conference Meeting Monday night (Oct. 24).
Council is being asked -- via a resolution that will be considered at its next Business meeting on Nov. 14 -- to notify the county of its intent to extend the agreement without modification by Dec. 1, per terms of the contract.
The Genesee County Legislature, however, may not be so eager to continue the agreement as currently written, Molino said, and some legislators already have expressed a desire to delete this "notification clause" going forward.
"I would want to see that kept in as it serves a definite purpose -- what is your intent?" Molino said.
Molino gave a brief history of the sales tax allocation agreement, stating it originated in 1999 "in tandem" with the water treatment plant and water treatment facilities agreements and addresses the Genesee County public water supply system program, economic development and water demands in the county.
The current terms of the sales tax agreement provide the city with 16 percent of the sales tax generated in Genesee County, with the towns and villages splitting 34 percent (based on assessed valuation) and the county receiving 50 percent.
Molino said the city's 16-percent share is more than it would receive if the sales tax/water treatment contracts weren't in place.
He explained that the city pays the county a surcharge of 60 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used and in return the county leases the water treatment plant from the city and reimburses the city for operational costs.
Additionally, the city buys water from the county (at a discounted rate) and the county sells water outside of the city. The revenue from the sale of water goes to pay for the infrastructure needed to distribute water to the towns.
"It's a comprehensive rural approach where everybody is sharing the resources," Molino said.
Negotiations between city and county leaders are ongoing, Molino said, adding that if a "regional solution isn't obtained by July 1, 2017, that City Council may be requested to extend all three agreements for a one-year term, ending Feb. 8, 2019, to provide sufficient time to finalize and execute new agreements."
He said this would give the Office of the State Comptroller time to review, approve and process the amendment to the sales tax allocation agreement as required by state law.
Molino said that since all three agreements are "intertwined and dependent upon each other," any future accord must continue the existing relationship.
Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Council Member Kathleen Briggs are representing the city in talks with the county. Jankowski said that County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, whose district is in the City of Batavia, also is involved in the negotiations and is "protecting our interests."
In other action, Council moved to its Business meeting, resolutions to:
-- Accept a $1,500 state grant for a child safety seat program; a $3,394 grant from Genesee County STOP-DWI for road checks, saturation patrols and impaired driving crackdowns on eight specific dates starting on Halloween and ending on Labor Day 2017; and an $11,400 state grant to participate in the statewide Police Traffic Services Program. The goal of the program is to increase seat belt use and reduce dangerous driving behaviors.
-- Develop an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan. The document is a regulatory requirement, said Public Works Director Matt Worth, that identifies "noncompliance in pedestrian accessible routes and facilities in the cilty's right-of-way, and outlines a plan and schedule for corrective action."
-- Transfer $83,050 from the construction line to the right-of-way acquisition line for the Healthy Schools Corridor sidewalk project set for next year. Worth said this became necessary after it was discovered that there were three properties in which the new sidewalk would encroach on private lands requiring either a permanent easement or property taking.