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August 25, 2021 - 8:52pm

Excitement, relief mark legislature's 'yes' vote on amended sales tax, water supply agreement resolutions

This afternoon’s approval of a new sales tax allocation agreement with the City of Batavia – a move that clears the way for the annual distribution of $10 million in sales tax revenue to Genesee County towns and villages – was a significant moment in the eyes of County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein.

So significant, in fact, that she marked the occasion with a resounding swing of her gavel on its wooden block.

“I’m excited (by this),” she said after legislators unanimously passed the “Modified Amended and Restated Sales Tax Allocation Agreement Between the County of Genesee and the City of Batavia.”

Stein, no doubt, also was relieved that lawmakers passed this and a subsequent, connected resolution ratifying the Town of Darien’s willingness to enter into an “Amended and Restated Water Supply Agreement” with the county.

On the first resolution, the sales tax allocation agreement between the city and county doesn’t change, but it does add wording statilng that the city has no objections to the county’s plan to distribute $10 million in sales tax money collected on a yearly basis to the towns and villages for the next 38 years.

The second resolution was made possible when the Darien Town Board, on Wednesday night, voted to sign a new water supply agreement with Genesee County. Darien was the last municipality to opt in and, by doing so, enables the county to share the full $10 million in sales tax and not a combination of sales tax and other revenue.

The new water supply contract – it’s the same for all municipalities – gives the county the right to raise the surcharge on water usage beyond the 60-cents per 1,000 gallons level, but also requires the county to petition the Monroe County Water Authority in seven years to enact an equalized water rate throughout the county.

“Sharing the $10 million was the goal of this legislature,” Stein said, as she congratulated her colleagues on achieving that goal.

In other action, the legislature voted in favor of contracting with EFPR Group, CPAs, PLLC, of Williamsville, a consulting firm, for assistance in how to spend money received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The contract is for up to $10,000 for the two years of the contract, which includes the option of three, one-year renewals. The cost will be paid from ARPA funds.

County Manager Matt Landers told legislators that the ARPA grant can be used to fund water and broadband projects, but there are “a lot of nuances” to the guidelines. He said EFRP has “extensive experience” in this area and is familiar with the process.

Landers also said he doesn’t think it will cost $10,000 in the first year, but probably closer to $5,000.

Previously: Darien opts in to water agreement after receiving assurances that county will pursue equalized rate

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