Senate Okays Canadarago Lake; Richfield Bills

James L. Seward

June 23, 2006

The state senate has approved legislation to create a Canadarago Lake protection and improvement district that would be subject to local voter approval.

Senate bill 4650-A, filed at the request of the Towns of Exeter, Otsego and Richfield, authorizes the creation of a self-governing lake district to include the real property adjacent to Canadarago Lake. The district is modeled upon improvement districts authorized in town law, in which only those benefitted by an improvement support it.

"For a number of years, the lake and adjacent properties have been affected by flooding, and there is simply no way short of a special district to address concerns that are peculiar only to the lake and lake properties," Seward said. "This approach, requested by the towns, offers local control and representation of property owners."

The measure creates a legal mechanism that authorizes the district to raise and expend funds for the lake’s maintenance and improvements; accept state and federal grants, and assume ownership and maintenance of the dam that has created the lake. It includes a cap on the amount of a tax rate that could be imposed to fund the district.

Seward previously obtained more than $140,000 in state grants to assist the towns in handling flooding problems at the lake. The funding would be available to the district once it is established.

The measure is pending in the assembly.

In addition, both houses of the legislature have approved S. 7040-A, which validates certain legal proceedings of the Village of Richfield Springs with reference to bond financings.

The legislation is necessary for the village to use state funding to help pay off some of its bonds so that it can take advantage of lower cost state financing for its sewer reconstruction project. The bill corrects technical errors and clarifies the village's bonding status.

"This is a housekeeping measure that dots the proverbial I's and crosses those tees," Senator Seward said. "When errors are made in issuing bonds, sometimes state legislation is required to validate the municipality's actions and allow it to go forward."

Senate bill 7040-A now goes to the governor.