Sweden Town Board adopts tax exemptions and emergency closing procedures

By on January 29, 2018

Members of the Sweden Town Board January 23 adopted the first local laws of 2018 – both dealing with tax exemptions.

The first law adds the Gold Star Parent Exemption to the Sweden Town Code and authorizes a limited exemption from real property taxes for real property owned by “Gold Star Parents” – parents of a child who died in the line of duty while serving in the United States Armed Forces during a period of war.

The second law makes permanent the Cold War Veterans exemption. The exemption was going to “sunset” Supervisor Kevin Johnson said, if the town did not take action to make it permanent.  The limited exemption from real property taxes covers real property owned by persons who rendered military service to the United States during the Cold War – September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991.

The Town Board also adopted new Rules of Procedure for its meetings and set in place Emergency Closing Procedures for the Town Hall, Community Center, Town Park and Highway Garage.

Supervisor Johnson, who took office January 1, said frigid weather with wind and snow resulted in his decision to close town facilities on January 5. “I was concerned about town employees who travel here from other towns as well as the Recreation Center with the blowing and drifting snow,” he explains.

Supervisor Johnson said that as he tried to get the word out regarding the closings, he realized there was no policy in place for weather related closures.  The new policy will help the town notify employees and residents in the case of weather related closures of the Town Hall, Community Center, Town Park and Highway Garage.

Additionally, council members authorized town architect David Strabel to draw up plans for new bathrooms at the Sweden Town Park to be located between the little league fields. The 16 ft. by 24 ft. building would house unisex bathrooms, Supervisor Johnson said. The town will pay Strabel $2,600 for 54 hours of work to create the plans.  Strabel described the bathrooms as a simple concrete slab building to be used seasonally, with a look similar to the concession stand located nearby.

Supervisor Johnson said the town would like to have the new bathrooms constructed and ready for use this year.

During his report, Supervisor Johnson said he met January 16 with Jay Grasso of G&G Process Services, Inc., regarding the town-wide survey of property owners who do not have public water.  The town is working to determine the median income levels of residents for grant applications necessary for water district formation.

Supervisor Johnson said Grasso expects to have a written report to the town with figures by the end of January.

“Our goal is to pursue water in all parts of the town without water,” SupervisorJohnson said.

“Bringing it together in one large project is the most cost effective,” he explained, “what we don’t know is if it is financially feasible.”

Several residents in attendance at the meeting asked Supervisor Johnson if those who previously volunteered on a water committee would be able to continue to be involved in the project.

He responded that the help of residents would be vital to the success of the project, particularly in making phone calls and writing letters.

“As far as I’m concerned, the pedal is to the metal,” regarding formation of water districts, Supervisor Johnson said.