County ag district to add 550 acres

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County’s sole agricultural district is scheduled to add over 550 acres of properties in the towns of Broadalbin, Perth, Johnstown, Mayfield, Oppenheim and Ephratah.

The Board of Supervisors last Monday authorized filing of a negative declaration under the state Environmental Quality Review process related to the current eight-year review of the district. Such a declaration means there are “no significant environmental impacts” identified during the SEQR process.

No one spoke at the board’s public hearing Monday at the County Office Building on review of district boundries. Revised boundaries show the district will be increased from 26,262 acres to 26,821 acres.

Fulton County’s Agricultural District No. 1 was originally approved in 1976 by supervisors, and approved by the state in 1977. State Agriculture and Markets Law authorizes creation of local agricultural districts. As of January 1, 2016, a total of 210 agricultural districts existed statewide containing 25,632 farms and over 8.8 million acres (about 30 percent of the state’s total land area).

The purpose of agricultural districting is to encourage and promote the continued use of farmland for agricultural production. The program is based on a combination of landowner incentives and protections designed to forestall the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses. Benefits that properties in state-certified Agricultural Districts receive are partial real property tax relief (agricultural assessment and special benefit assessments), and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.

In other board business:

∫ Supervisors approved purchase of a $178,095 2018 rolloff truck for use in the county Solid Waste Department.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery questioned if the purchase was $3,000 short, but was told there is leftover capital plan funding available.

∫ In a special committee report, Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor John Blackmon reported the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation hired a new bookkeeper from two applicants.

∫ The board transferred ownership of waterlines servicing the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency’s Tryon Technology Park in Perth to the Gloversville Water Department.

∫ Supervisors cemented a 2017 contract with Care Environmental of Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program.

∫ A public safety mutual aid agreement between the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was extended five years. The agreement provides for such things as: efficient public dispatch, utilization of shared telecommunications systems, adequate numbers of trained officers, and development of joint policies.

∫ Board Chairman Mike Kinowski was authorized to sign user agreements between the county Board of Elections and local school districts for use of county voting machines in 2017.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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