Revised Goal 6 Governance & Fiscal Responsibility

 

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Recommendations  

CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11 1

GOAL 6: Govern with openness and fiscal responsibility. 1.

 

A. Objectives

Govern openly with the fullest possible public participation. 2.

Maintain ongoing communication and cooperation around shared interests and issues between the Town and Village planning efforts. 3.

Hold down taxes as much as possible. 4.

Be careful spending the Town’s Money. 5.

Think globally, be engaged regionally and plan locally within our vision. 6.

Develop a long term planning program that tracks progress. B. Background, Subcommittee Observations and Comments

1.

Background and Observations a.

The Town of Washington is governed by an elected Town Supervisor and Town Board (five members total including the Town Supervisor). Town departments include: Town Clerk (an elected position), Justice Court, Highway Department (Highway Superintendent is also an elected position), Planning Department, Zoning Department, Tax Assessors Office, Tax Office, and Recreation Commission. b.

There are approximately 35 full and part-time employees, with a significant increase during the summer to manage the various recreational programs offered by the Town. c.

The Town has four boards and a commission: Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Review, and Conservation Advisory Commission. d.

Washington is served almost entirely by individual on-lot wells (excluding the Village of Millbrook). There are some portions of the south Millbrook area that are connected to the Village water system. Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

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e.

Almost all properties are served almost exclusively by private on-lot septic systems (excluding the Village of Millbrook). f.

Washington replaced its Town landfill with the Transfer Station in 1993. g.

The Town has access to two public recreational facilities: Town of Washington Park, and the Village Hall Gymnasium. h.

The community is served by the Millbrook Fire Department and Rescue Squad under contract with the Village of Millbrook. i.

Washington does not provide any law enforcement functions. The Town employs two constables who are utilized primarily for court room duty. Police responses in the Town of Washington are handled either by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department or the New York State Police at the discretion of the Dutchess County Emergency Response Center. 2.

Comments Received Residents have commented, in many different ways, in the visioning workshops, action planning workshop and vision statement workshop that “taxes are too high.” Note: the survey did not ask questions about governance.

C. Policies and Recommendations

1.

Objective: Govern openly with the fullest possible public participation. i. Promote open dialogue with all residents and seek out the maximum amount of involvement in public decisions, including renters and weekend or seasonal homeowners.

b.

Recommendations i. For the convenience of the public, adjust Town hall hours, put codes and ordinances online, and consider putting Town meetings on television or YouTube linked from the Town’s website. Use social networking sites to educate residents about the unique aspects of

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

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Washington’s environment, scenic resources, farming, and historic preservation through partnerships with local groups, advocacy organizations and or local schools.

2. Objective: Maintain ongoing communication and cooperation around shared interests and issues between the Town and Village planning efforts.

i. Develop shared plan element to be included in each community’s comprehensive plan.

ii. Evaluate all options to reduce the cost of municipal expenses by evaluating all opportunities to share or consolidate services with the Village, the School Districts, the County or surrounding communities.

b. Recommendations

i. Apply for a grant from the State of New York Division of Local Government to study shared services and perhaps municipal consolidation.

ii. Keep Washington a safe community by addressing declining volunteer emergency service levels, costs and trends toward privatization of emergency services, perhaps through the development of incentives, a special assessment district or other approaches. Plan for possible State requirements to combine police services for greater efficiency and cost savings.

3. Objective: Hold down property taxes as much as possible.

i. Assertively pursue non-tax revenue through State and federal grants and public-private partnerships to support municipal services and diversity the Town’s revenue stream.

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

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b. Recommendations

ii. Evaluate, and understand the impact of tax-exempt properties and pursue contributions or payments in lieu of taxes from nonprofit organizations and uses.

4. Objective: Be careful spending the Town’s Money.

i. Evaluate the benefits of any new regulation, incentive, service or program against its costs and tax consequences, both short and long term.

ii. Evaluate all annual expenditures and policies with the goal of identifying cost saving opportunities and possibilities for sharing services

iii. Evaluate the impact of the New York State Property Tax Cap and assess impact on local services.

5. Objective: Think globally, be engaged regionally and plan locally within our vision.

i. Be actively aware and appropriately engaged in regional efforts to address critical systems including the economy, housing, resource conservation and environmental protection.

ii. Strive to understand best planning practices that can be used to address regional and global issues in a manner consistent with the vision of the Town of Washington.

b. Recommendations

i. Encourage community members to participate with local, regional and statewide groups and keep Town residents aware of issues and opportunities related to protection of environmental resources,

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

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transportation, economic development and housing market trends among other issues.

ii. Advocate green infrastructure and low impact development practices whenever appropriate.

iii. Make efforts to “green” Town operations; reduce environmental impacts and carbon footprint by using alternate energy and seeking the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Program Certification for Town projects.

6. Objective: Develop a long term planning program that tracks progress of Comprehensive Plan implementation.

i. Monitor and track progress in implementing the Comprehensive Plan including a periodic review of the implementation and effectiveness of the Comprehensive Plan (at least every three years).

ii. Review codes and ordinances to ensure that they are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

iii. Provide adequate financial, personnel, and technical support to implement the plan policies and recommendations.

iv. Enact, and diligently enforce, clear precise and understandable codes and ordinances to address Town policies.

b. Recommendations

i. Develop a Capital Improvement Program to identify capital projects and equipment purchases the Town will make over a 10-15 year period, systematically and simultaneously review projects, outline a planning schedule, identify options for financing while stabilizing debt and consolidating projects to reduce borrowing costs.

ii. Develop a Comprehensive Road Maintenance Plan that prioritizes road maintenance.

Town of Washington, NY Comprehensive Plan

Goals, Policies and Recommendations CURRENT DRAFT – Goal 6: Governance & Fiscal Responsibility – Edited After 6/25/11

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iii. Review the Town’s Zoning, Site Plan, Subdivision and related land management tools. Appoint a committee to guide the process to update the codes to conform to the Comprehensive Plan.

iv. Review other regulations of the Town Code (not related to the land management regulations) and the Policy and Procedure Manual with a view towards eliminating inconsistencies, outdated practices and conflicts.

Will move to section with recreation and community services

“Maintain a stable level of municipal services that benefit Town residents.”

Will move to goal addressing Transportation and explain “rural road”

“Review the repaving cycle but also explores the possibilities of maintaining roadways in a rural nature, by using different reconstruction and maintenance materials, if it does have negative economic impacts.”

a. Policies

a. Policies

a. Polices

a. Policies

a. Policies

a. Policies

About Mary Alex

Town Clerk, Town of Washington, NY
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