Fulton Council Acts on Pair of Public Hearings

FULTON, NY – The Fulton Common Council recently heard public input, though minimal, on two separate resolutions.

At the regular meeting Tuesday (Nov 15) Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. opened a public hearing to hear from city residents on the council’s request to override the local tax levy cap for the 2017 city budget.

By state law, municipalities and school districts throughout New York State are not able to increase taxes more than 2% or based on the consumer price index (CPI,) whichever is lower, without an affirmative vote including a public hearing.

Based on the CPI, the tax cap limit is 0.68% for the city, according to city clerk and chamberlain Daniel O’Brien.

Woodward ensured that the city has no intentions of increasing taxes, in fact he said the budget as it stands now presents no increase.

The override of the tax levy cap is simply a formality, he said.

The budget will now be submitted to the state comptrollers office, as is every budget, where if a mistake is made the city faces the possibility of money being encumbered and unable to use if they did not override the tax cap, the mayor explained.

When the budget is approved and the tax cap does not exceed the limit, the council will rescind the resolution, as they have done in recent years.

One resident approached the council for more information during the public hearing, but saw no issue after understanding the purpose.

The resolution passed unanimously and the budget process will continue as the common council then scheduled a public hearing for the proposed 2017 city budget to be held on December 6, directly following the public comment period of the regular common council meeting held at the Fulton Municipal Building located at 141 S. First St. beginning at 7 p.m.

After resolution of the first public hearing, Mayor Woodward opened a second hearing regarding a resolution to amend subsection 601-4 of the city coded entitled “Storage Regulations.”

The law is in regards to storage of recreational vehicles on resident’s property.

The current law before the hearing allows owners of recreational vehicles, including boats, trailers, motor homes, etc., to only be stored in the back or side yard of a property and not in their driveway.

One city resident approached the council during the hearing, concerned that they were trying to place further regulations on the code.

However, the council wants to amend the code to allow storage of recreational vehicles in driveways.

“We don’t think we should be telling people what they can put in their driveway. It’s your property. The regulation was there, we are taking it off, not adding more,” said first ward councilor and council president Tom Kenyon.

The resident was grateful that the council was choosing to amend the code in favor of those who own recreational vehicles and not based on the complaints of neighbors or other city residents.

“You can put a fence up as far as I’m concerned. When we started adding more regulations it gets more specific and it’s just going to snowball,” he said.

“It’s a good thing to do,” Mayor Woodward assured. “Everyone should have the right, not have to be told what they can put in their own driveway.”

The resolution passed unanimously, as to now allow storage of recreational vehicles in driveways as long as they do not obstruct traffic views.

In other business:

The council approved salary increases for the Fulton Housing Authority in correlation with a contract agreement with CSEA recently approved by the council.

“Once this becomes entirely privatized, we won’t have to do this anymore but as of now, whatever CSEA gets for their contract, the same goes for the Fulton Housing Authority,” Woodward said.

The council unanimously gave approval for the mayor to sign the Security Contract Renewal Letter and Acknowledgment Form for the third period of the agreement between the NYS Unified Court System and the city of Fulton.

“This is the contract that allows our police department to cover security during court hours, they pay their overtime,” Woodward explained.

Finally, the council announced requests for proposal for two residential properties located at 409 Hannibal St. and 309 Park St.

Sealed proposals should be submitted to the city clerk/chamberlain’s office in the Municipal Building on or before December 5 up to 2 p.m.

All proposals will be publicly opened at 2:15 p.m. of the same day in the Mayor’s Conference Room.

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