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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee

Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost of Community Services Study 2.0 Introduction 2.1 Town of Byron Overview The Town of Byron is a rural community with approximately 2500 residents; the Town is located between the City of Buffalo in Erie County and The City of Rochester in Monroe County. Byron is also located less than 10 miles from City of Batavia, the Genesee County seat. Byron has virtually no industry and limited commercial development within its borders. Over the past decade, agricultural land has been subdivided to accommodate new residential development; the municipality now functions as a “bedroom community” serving the urban centers of Rochester, Buffalo, and Batavia. As Genesee County farms become larger, yet the number of farms becomes smaller, the Town of Byron has some important issues to address. The Town of Byron should measure the current financial contributions of major municipal land uses to determine their overall impact on the Town’s financial health. The Town must consider the cost of providing public services to each type of land use compared to the amount of revenue the Town derives from each land use. Completing a Cost of Community Services (COCS) Study can help the Town to make this determination. 2.2 What is a COCS Study A COCS Study reorganizes local financial records of a community to determine the net effect of various land uses in a single fiscal period. The COCS study will compare costs and revenues from residential; commercial and industrial; and agricultural, forest and open land sectors to provide a snapshot of the financial contributions of current land uses to local governments. Most COCS studies determine that agricultural and open lands generate more in revenues than they demand in municipal services. The purpose of completing the study for the Town of Byron was to determine whether the results would be similar to the majority of other COCS studies conducted in New York. The Byron COCS researched the fiscal profile of the community, assessed how revenues were generated and distributed by land use to determine the cost of providing services to residential, commercial/industrial, and agricultural/open space categories. Not surprisingly, the Study details the same basic revenue and expense dynamics: agricultural uses are a net contributor to the Town while residential uses consume more in services than they contribute in tax revenue. Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc. 3 peter j. smith & company, inc.

Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost of Community Services Study The following report summarizes the findings for the Town of Byron. The report is organized into four main sections: Introduction, Methodology, Findings and Discussion. The report also provides detailed tables, appendices and references. 2.3 Methodology The objective of the COCS study is to compare Byron’s annual income to the expense of providing public service for different land use sectors. The study is not intended to predict the future. Rather, the study represents a “snapshot in time” of costs versus revenues per land use type in Byron. For this study, Fiscal Year 2000 was chosen because it was the most recent year with a complete, adopted Town Budget. Budgeted appropriations and revenues were use because they approximate an average year’s fiscal condition and will not be skewed by unexpected expenditures or revenues. The methodology developed by the American Farmland Trust (AFT) was used to complete the COCS Study. AFT is a private, nonprofit membership organization founded in 1980 to protect the region’s agricultural resources. AFT works to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment. The COCS Study was conducted using these five major steps: 1. Meet with local sponsors Working with local government specialists including the Town Supervisor, Town Tax Assessor and Town Clerk to define land use categories into: • Residential • Commercial/Industrial • Agriculture and Open Space Each property tax code was divided into one of the above land use categories. The list was approved and finalized by the Town Tax Assessor. Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc. 4 peter j. smith & company, inc.

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