GeneseeCounty: Town of Byron Cost of Community Services Study land uses – that requires the fund was determined. Items demanded exclusively by residents include expenses related to the Town youth program, library, museum, festivals, cemeteries and Census expenditures. There were no line items designated exclusively to commercial/industrial or agricultural/open space. The remaining line items were appropriated toward a combination of two or three land uses together. Examples include sewer district rents, highway expenditures, general government expenditures, home and community service expenditures, and Town employee expenditures. Calculation of “fall back” percentages Even after completing a thorough interview and research process, there are some line items that are difficult to allocate into land use categories. When this situation arose, a “fall back” land use breakdown was used based on the total assessed value for each land use related to the total assessed value within the Town of Byron. 5. Analyze Date and Calculate Ratios Upon completion of all necessary interviews, information was entered into an Excel Spreadsheet program for analysis. Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc. 7 peter j. smith & company, inc.
GeneseeCounty: Town of Byron Cost of Community Services Study 3.0 Findings The COCS Study completed for the Town of Byron offers a “snapshot in time” for local andCounty decision makers to consider. The findings illustrate the current costs of servicing each land use type compared with the amount of revenue each land use type contributes the tax base. This initiative is not meant to be predictive nor to judge the intrinsic value of one land use over another. The uniqueness of the study is that it considers agricultural landand open space – land uses that are often ignored in other types of fiscal analyses. Many proponents of growth often present farmlandand other open lands as awaiting a “highest and best use”; this use is most often residential development. The COCS findings show the positive tax benefits of maintaining these lands in their current use. The cost of providing new residents with basic services is quite expensive. Education, fire services, police protection, road maintenance, public sewer and water are all expenses which must be evaluated along with a new residential development’s contribution to the tax base. Similar to agriculture and open space, commercial/industrial land uses also provide far more in revenues than they demand in services. Yet new businesses require new workers. Often times, if the local market is not enough to satisfy demands, “urbanizing” will typically occur. New commercial development is typically followed by an increased demand for new housing, traffic congestion, and pollution. The COCS Study is intended to encourage local and regional policy makers that the preservation of agriculture and open space has many economic consequences. Farmland not only pays property tax, but includes many additional economic multipliers in its own right. Farming is an industry that contributes to the local employment base and supports many other business both locally and regionally. Farming is also a cost-effective way to maintain a community’s rural character. According to the results of the study completed for Byron, agricultural, open space, commercial, and industrial uses are important contributors to the Town’s fiscal health. This is demonstrated in the average ratio of dollars generated by residential development to services required which was $1.00 to $1.30. In other words, for every dollar raised from residential revenues, the Town spent an extra 30 cents on average in direct services. These services include education, health and human services, fire safety, and public works. The average ratio for agricultural land, forest and other open space was $1.00 to $.49 cents; for every dollar raised in revenue the Town retained $.51 cents. For commercial and industrial uses, the Town retained $.23 cents in excess of expenses. Average Land Use Ratios for the Town of Byron, New York Residential Commercial/Industrial Agricultural/Forest/Open Space $1.00: $1.30 $1:00: $0.77 $1.00: $0.49 Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc. 8 peter j. smith & company, inc.