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Residents invited to respond to survey on lake tax

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon Jayme Breschard with Barton & Loguidice and Pierre Chagnon, chairman of the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency, review questions following a public presentation.

Residents who live in the Chautauqua Lake watershed are invited to help decide how protecting the lake should be funded, specifically when it comes to tax collection.

During a public presentation by the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency, Jayme Breschard, a senior managing community planner with Barton & Loguidice, discussed three taxing options — a tiered flat fee, a formula based fee, and an equivalent residential units funding option.

TIERED FLAT FEE

In the tiered flat fee, there would be one consistent fee paid by all landowners in each tier. Tier 1 would be landowners who have lakefront property; Tier 2 would be landowners who have access to Chautauqua Lake but not lakefront property; and Tier 3 would be all landowners who live in the Chautauqua Lake watershed.

Using a $10 million annual funding goal, Tier 1 would pay $793 annually, Tier 2 would pay $602, and tier 3 would pay $360.

FORMULA BASED FEE

In the formula based fee, there would be adjustments for the amount of acres, as well as type of land. Land types include agricultural, residential, vacant land, commercial, recreation and entertainment, community services, industrial, public services, and wild/forested/conservation lands. Other possible variables could include pavement on the property, presence of structures, and distance from the lake.

Using a $10 million annual funding goal, Tier 1 properties would range from $595 to $1,443 annually. Tier 2 properties would range from $451 to $1,685. Tier 3 would properties would range from $270 to $1,009.

EQUIVALENT RESIDENTIAL UNITS

An Equivalent Residential Units, according to Jack Williams with Barton & Loguidice, is a standard method of equating storm water utility fees for different property types (residential and non-residential). It also incorporates impervious cover on average residential property. Impervious cover is defined as developed surfaces that do not infiltrate water, including roofs, driveways/roads, and gravel surfaces.

Williams said while using ERUs is common in other areas of the state, it does take some work to figure out. The first step is to determine the average impervious cover for residential properties. Second, they would have to determine the total ERUs in the watershed. Third would be to determine cost of an ERU, based on the total funding goal divided by the number of ERUs.

Williams gave a hypothetical example of an average residence with 2,000 feet of impervious cover in a Tier 1 paying $438 and a hypothetical example of an average commercial property with 6,000 feet of impervious cover paying $1,374. These examples were set up with a $10 million funding goal.

Due to data gaps, Williams said the maximum levels were inflated and needed to be reworked. There was also talk of installing a cap for a maximum level.

SURVEY RESPONSE

Residents in the Chautauqua Lake watershed are invited to go to bartonloguidice.mysocialpinpoint.com/chautauqua-co-lake-fund. At that site is the powerpoint of the presentation. The presentation is also on the county’s YouTube page. A link to the YouTube page is available on the county’s Facebook page.

Residents are asked to share their opinions on the Tiered Flat Fee funding option, the Formula Based Fee funding option and the Equivalent Residential Units funding option. Each response is limited to 500 characters.

Pierre Chagnon, who is the chairman of the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency, said those responses will be reviewed in a couple of weeks as they try to figure out which is the preferred funding option. He encourages everyone to give their responses as quickly as possible, as the group would like to meet again this month.

Officials said they hope to make a final determination by the spring. That information would be turned over to the county legislature for review and possible implementation.

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