The following is a collection of questions and answers that have been posed over the past year. Click on a topic to expand it.
Creating the district
A special tax district to fund future Little York Lake treatments or other efforts to preserve the lake.
While everyone has benefited from prior treatments and other management efforts, the unfortunate truth is that the funds have been primarily raised from approximately 2/3 of the community. LYLPS realized that this is not sustainable and that short term gains could be quickly lost as people tire of shouldering the burden for others. The lake district provides an equitable distribution of contributions.
This is a community-lead initiative and was NOT initiated by the Cortland County legislators nor the towns (Homer/Preble). LYLPS established an ad hoc committee of 10 community members to explore long-term funding alternatives. After considering several approaches the committee recommended the creation of a sustainable lake district. Because the lake straddles two towns, Preble and Homer, the district needs to be formed under the County. This also aligns with the County’s interests of ensuring that citizens can enjoy the lake from Dwyer Park.
All properties adjacent to or with deeded access to the lake.
The money from you regular assessment goes to the county, this sustainable district will go ONLY for the betterment of the lake! Also, you will not be asked each year to donate an extra amount, rather with this we will know what amount of money we can look forward to having for the treatments in the future years, and EVERYONE will be contributing.
Without majority support for this it will not happen. The treatments will likely stop, and we will go back to excessive weeds needing to be raked out of your lake front to make it usable. IF we stop sustaining the lake, then you will pay far more in the future as your property values sink. This is a cheap insurance policy to avoid that happening.
Before we began treatments the lake was full of milfoil. To date only part of the lake community has contributed to treatment while everyone on the lake benefits. This is to make the cost shared equitably.
The state does not own the lake. The lake bottom is owned by the adjacent property owners and the public has right of way to use the surface.
All registered voters whose voting address is in the tax district can vote. If their registered address is not in the district they cannot vote regardless of ownership status. Voters can only vote once regardless of the number of properties owned.
2023 Tax billing
The tax will appear on your annual property tax much like the fire district tax. You will pay it to your town tax collector along with the other property taxes and it will be made available to the oversight board by the county.
The total amount will be based on your property assessment value. We anticipate a rate of .94 per $1,000 of property assessment.
On your property tax bill.
The county would review the Administrator’s (Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District) proposed changes and vote to approve or disapprove as part of their budget process.
No more than annually and only with county approval.
The tax rate is covered by the state tax cap which is currently 2% for total property tax increase.
Use of Funds
The county has appointed Soil and Water as the administrator to monitor/determine how the funds are spent. LYLPS will draft a budget and recommendations each year on how the monies will be spent for Soil and Water, and ultimately county, approval . Monies can only be used for Little York Lake District needs, none can be placed in the county's general fund.
Yes, we work with Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District on annual management activities, and they have contributed funds annually. They have given approximately 25% of the treatment costs each year. Previously they paid for the weed harvester to remove weeds.
Lake Management Plan
The plan was originally created in the mid-1990's by Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District. It was updated in 2017 by a committee including representatives from Soil & Water, the county, the towns of Preble and Homer, and LYLPS. Expert information was provided by SOLitude Lake Management and Princeton Hydro. LYLPS has been working with Soil & Water, SOLitude and Princeton Hydro as well as DEC on an ongoing basis to ensure that we are using best practices and working in an environmentally sensitive way.
A range of invasive species have been introduced to the lake, primarily through the public boat launch. These include zebra mussels, starry stonewort, Eurasian milfoil, and variable leaf milfoil. Since 2014 LYLPS has tried to meet these challenges and began aggressive herbicide treatments in 2019. Over the past three years LYLPS has raised over $40,000 from residents and received $18,000 in support from Cortland County Soil and Water to provide $58,000 in treatments. The result has been a dramatic improvement in lake appearance and usability from a reduction in invasive species, primarily milfoils.
Several in the community have commented that the level of weeds is dramatically less, and that debris floating has reduced substantially.
We have found that different invasives behave differently and require repeat treatments. We hope that we can reduce treatment frequency and use other management techniques per our lake management plan to control milfoil and other invasives in the future.
The whole lake benefits from any treatment and your property value depends on having a healthy lake.
Mechanical harvesting is one of the tools in our lake management plan. For 2022 we are proposing to harvest starry stonewort and pondweed rather than treating them with herbicides. We do intend to treat much of the remaining milfoil with ProcellaCOR as we have done for the past two years.
We have worked with Soil and Water since 2016 to support a boater education program at the boat launch. This includes staffing the launch with information and boat stewards. The program was expanded in 2020 to include a boat decontamination station. While this program can't stop people from bringing in invasives, it is the best practice as recommended by DEC.
All Lake residents property values depend on the condition of the lake. Maintaining the lake maintains your property value.
The 4th of July events do not break even, so there is no extra money to be used.
We are working with the county on ideas for possibly generating income, but the boat launch is funded by county taxes.