Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 7-14-1987 by L.L. No. 40-1987; amended 6-28-1988 by L.L. No. 35-1988; 6-9-1993 by L.L. No. 26-1993; 6-11-1996 by L.L. No. 21-1996; 12-15-1998 by L.L. No. 35-1999[2]; 8-7-2007 by L.L. No. 24-2007]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Art. XII, Department of Fire Safety, added 10-28-1963 by L.L. No. 5-1963 and amended 1-6-1964 by L.L. No. 1-1964, was repealed 9-27-1983 by L.L. No. 16-1983. See now Art. XI of this Charter.
[2]
Editor's Note: This local law was approved at referendum 11-2-1999 and took effect 12-1-2000.
A Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program designed to provide funding for sewer district tax rate stabilization, environmental protection, and property tax mitigation is hereby extended in a modified form beginning on December 1, 2007, and ending on November 30, 2030.
In the event that the New York State Legislature enacts enabling state legislation prior to November 30, 2007, for the explicit purpose of extending, within the territorial limits of the County of Suffolk, on the terms and conditions set forth in this law, the additional sales and compensating use tax of 1/4 of 1% authorized and imposed by the County of Suffolk pursuant to the provisions of § 1210-A of the New York Tax Law and Suffolk County Resolution Nos. 1568-1988 and 650-2000, then the County of Suffolk shall extend, prior to December 31, 2007, by appropriate legislative action, within the territorial limits of the County of Suffolk, the additional sales and compensating use tax of 1/4 of 1% imposed by the County of Suffolk pursuant to the provisions of § 1210-A of the New York Tax Law and Suffolk County Resolution No. 745-1968 as amended by Resolution Nos. 1568-1988 and 650-2000, and any revenues generated by the extension of such 1/4 of 1% sales and compensating use tax so authorized by appropriate state and local action, during the period commencing December 1, 2007, and concluding November 30, 2030, shall be allocated annually only in accordance with the following formula throughout this entire period of time:
A. 
Specific environmental protection:
(1) 
31.10% of the total revenues generated each calendar year to reduce or stabilize the County's general property taxes for the subsequent fiscal year by being credited to revenues in direct proportion to real property taxes assessed and collected by the County of Suffolk from parcels within the County, said revenues to be used to offset the County cost of the acquisition of:
(a) 
Freshwater/Tidal wetlands and buffer lands for same.
(b) 
Lands within the watershed of a coastal stream, as determined by a reasonable planning or hydrological study.
(c) 
Any tract of land located fully or partially within a statutorily designated special groundwater protection area.
(d) 
Lands determined by the County Department of Planning to be necessary for maintaining the quality of surface water and/or groundwater in Suffolk County.
(e) 
Lands identified by the South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER), Peconic Estuary Program (PEP), and/or Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (LICMP) as needed to protect coastal water resources.
(f) 
Farmland development rights pursuant to Chapter 8 of the Suffolk County Code and in accordance with the rating system set forth in Exhibit A attached hereto and made a part hereof, and/or any successor exhibit thereto.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is on file in the County offices.
(g) 
Open space, in accordance with the criteria set forth in Exhibit B attached hereto and made a part hereof, and/or any successor exhibit thereto.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Exhibit B is on file in the County offices.
(h) 
Wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, subject to such terms and conditions regarding the actual use of such land as may be imposed by duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk, including, but not limited to, traditional preexisting use of such land, anything in § C1-7 of the Suffolk County Charter to the contrary notwithstanding, as are determined to be eligible for acquisition, via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk, in accordance with the criteria set forth in Exhibit B, attached hereto and made a part hereof, and/or any successor exhibit thereto.
(i) 
Land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses, all subject to continued public access to such property, as are determined to be eligible for acquisition via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk, in accordance with the criteria set forth in Exhibit C attached hereto and made a part hereof,[3] and/or any successor exhibit thereto, after taking into consideration the advisory recommendations, if any, of the Suffolk County Planning Department and the Suffolk County Board of Trustees of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation, which Suffolk County resolution shall also explicitly designate the authorized use of such land.
[3]
Editor's Note: Exhibit C is on file in the County offices.
(2) 
The Suffolk County Environmental Programs Trust Fund is hereby created; 31.10% of the total revenues generated each calendar year by such sales and compensating use tax shall be allocated and deposited annually to this trust fund. The annual appropriation of such revenues shall be effectuated via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk. If the revenues generated in any year, including calendar year 2030, exceed the amount necessary to provide for such environmental projects, then such excess revenues shall be carried over as a fund balance for such environmental projects to be consummated in subsequent years.
(a) 
The revenues allocated and deposited into the trust fund may be used for the purchase of farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses, or the payment of debt service on serial bonds or notes authorized via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk and issued for the purchase of farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses. Principal and interest expenses, bond or note issuance costs and all other expenses directly related to the bonds or notes issued for such farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses acquisition may be paid from the sales tax revenues in the trust fund. The amount of debt service and bond or note issuance costs paid from the trust fund in any calendar year shall not exceed 80% of the unobligated projected sales tax revenues for such calendar year. A projection of annual sales tax revenues for the current calendar year, and the three calendar years immediately following, shall be prepared in a written report and shall be jointly certified by the County Executive's Office and the Legislative Budget Review Office as follows: one month prior to the sale of any Suffolk County bond or note, or 45 days prior to the debt service of any bond or note becoming due and payable by Suffolk County, whichever is sooner, and on September 1 of each calendar year. On an annual basis, actual sales tax revenues allocated and deposited into the trust fund that exceed debt service requirements for the current calendar year shall be reserved by Suffolk County for future debt service payments in the event future annual debt service requirements are projected to exceed 80% of the unobligated projected sales tax revenues. In the event such reserved revenues become unnecessary to ensure that the eighty-percent cap is not exceeded, such revenues may be used for the acquisition of farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses under this program.
(b) 
For purposes of this section, "unobligated projected sales tax revenues" means the total projected sales tax revenues generated each calendar year that are allocated and deposited into the trust fund and are not committed by Suffolk County under a fully executed contract for the purchase of farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses, or for the payment of bonds or notes obtained for the acquisition of other farmland development rights, open space, wetlands, woodlands, pine barrens, and other lands which are suitable only for passive, recreational use, land for use as hamlet greens, hamlet parks, pocket parks (with the effect of providing public spaces that reinforce community livability by enhancing the pedestrian-friendly nature of communities, including uses for outdoor activities, playgrounds, and other public gathering purposes), active parkland, active recreation, historic and/or cultural park uses under this program.
(c) 
The County of Suffolk hereby reserves the right to dedicate and transfer development rights from land acquired under this law (exclusive of transactions involving farmland development rights, active parkland, hamlet parks, and historic parks), and hold for use for the sole purpose of providing workforce housing, as defined in Article XXXVI of the Suffolk County Administrative Code, pursuant to a program established by the Suffolk County Department of Planning and via subsequent duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk. In each individual use or sale of such development rights, such use or sale shall be subject to approval by duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk and shall be consistent with Resolution No. 412-2005, as amended.
(d) 
Serial bonds or notes issued for the purchase of development rights or land under this program may only be authorized by a duly enacted bond or note resolution of the County of Suffolk adopted in calendar year 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011. Any such bonds or notes must be issued on or prior to December 31, 2011, and the final maturity of such bonds and notes shall be no later than December 31, 2030.
B. 
Water quality protection and restoration program and land stewardship initiatives.
(1) 
11.75% of the total revenues generated each calendar year to reduce or stabilize the County's general property taxes for the subsequent fiscal year by being credited to revenues in direct proportion to real property taxes assessed and collected by the County of Suffolk from parcels within the County, said revenues to be used to offset the County cost of environmental programs limited to:
(a) 
Projects recommended by the Management Committee of SSER, PEP, and/or LICMP, if approved by duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk, for infrastructure improvements or operating expenses which may include, but not be limited to, the following:
[1] 
Nonpoint source abatement and control:
[a] 
Conventional or innovative structural or nonstructural stormwater abatement or prevention.
[b] 
Establishment and/or testing of innovative and alternative on-site sanitary waste disposal systems.
[c] 
Best management practice demonstration and implementation at commercial, industrial, and/or residential sites.
[2] 
Aquatic habitat restoration:
[a] 
Wetlands preservation and enhancement.
[b] 
Submerged aquatic vegetation restoration and enhancement.
[c] 
Bay scallop and other aquatic species restoration efforts, including the management of underwater lands subject to the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Leasing Authority.
[d] 
Integrated marsh management.
[e] 
Native plantings and other near-shore vegetative preservation and restoration projects.
[f] 
Nonstructural shore stabilization and restoration projects.
[g] 
Preservation and restoration initiatives targeted at protection of rare, threatened, or endangered species, or other priority species or critical natural resource areas identified by the County of Suffolk.
[3] 
Agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control:
[a] 
Best management practice demonstration and implementation to control or reduce pollutants such as nutrients, pesticides, and herbicides from agricultural sites and their impact on surface water quality and habitat.
[4] 
Pollution prevention initiatives:
[a] 
Best management practice demonstration and implementation to prevent pollution at commercial, industrial, and/or residential sites.
(b) 
Freshwater and tidal stream corridor restoration.
(c) 
Projects to implement "no discharge zones."
(d) 
Programs for educational outreach, as long as a matching non-County share of 50% is provided.
(e) 
Programs to remediate other nonpoint source pollution.
(f) 
Land stewardship initiatives:
[1] 
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation shall create a Suffolk County Open Space Management and Practices Manual, which will be an updated version of the existing Nature Preserve Handbook, to include the following:
[a] 
Open Space Best Management Practices Plan to ensure open space is preserved in its natural state in perpetuity while promoting public access to open spaces where appropriate;
[b] 
Inventory of plants, animals and natural communities in Suffolk County;
[c] 
Species Protection Best Management Practices Plan to identify criteria and actions needed to maintain stable, well-distributed populations of Suffolk County's native species of plant, animals and natural communities;
[d] 
Land Protection Best Management Practices Plan to ensure protection of scenic and wildlife habitat resources and provide for compatible uses by the residents of Suffolk County; and
[e] 
Complete and usable, mapped inventory of all preserved and protected lands acquired by the County of Suffolk.
[2] 
Projects to manage, maintain or restore terrestrial plants, animals, and damaged habitats.
[3] 
Invasive species prevention and management, including early detection, monitoring, removal, research, and education, as recommended by the Final Report and Recommendations of the Suffolk County Water and Land Invasive Control Task Force dated December 2006, and prioritized by the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Review Committee established by this law.
[4] 
Mechanical treatment and prescribed fires to reduce hazardous fuels, such as leaf and twig buildup.
[5] 
Grasslands restoration and management.
[6] 
Cleaning and maintenance of ponds, lakes and tidal tributaries.
[7] 
Cleaning up of illegal dumping.
[8] 
Building and maintenance of trails.
(2) 
The County of Suffolk may use these funds to match offers, grants or donations of funding to the County by third parties consistent with the water quality protection and restoration and land stewardship initiatives set forth above.
(3) 
(a) 
A Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Review Committee (Committee) is hereby created consisting of the following nine members:
[1] 
County Executive or designee;
[2] 
County Legislator to be appointed by the Presiding Officer;
[3] 
Commissioner of Public Works or designee;
[4] 
Commissioner of Health Services or designee;
[5] 
Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation or designee;
[6] 
Director of Planning or designee;
[7] 
Commissioner of Environment and Energy or designee to serve as Chairman;
[8] 
One representative from a widely recognized and publicly acknowledged environmental group, to be selected by the Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature; and
[9] 
One representative to be appointed by the County Legislature from amongst the following: Citizen Advisory Committee Chairs for the South Shore Estuary Preserve, Long Island Sound Estuary, and Peconic Estuary Program.
(b) 
The Committee is hereby authorized and directed to solicit and review all proposed projects submitted pursuant to the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiatives and make recommendations thereon to the County Executive and the Suffolk County Legislature.
(c) 
The Committee shall establish its rules of procedure and shall meet regularly on a schedule adopted by its members.
(d) 
All projects shall be subject to the approval of the Suffolk County Legislature after review and submission of recommendations by the Committee.
(e) 
The Department of Environment and Energy is designated to administer this program.
(f) 
The Commissioner of said Department shall issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement and carry out the provisions of this article.
(g) 
The Department of Environment and Energy shall implement and administer such projects as have been duly approved by the Legislature and shall be responsible for reporting the progress of each such project on an annual basis to the County Executive and the Legislature.
(h) 
The Department of Environment and Energy shall provide staff support to the Committee.
(4) 
The Suffolk County Environmental Programs Trust Fund is hereby created; 11.75% of the total revenues generated each calendar year by such sales and compensating use tax shall be allocated and deposited annually to this trust fund. The annual appropriation of such revenues shall be effectuated via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk. If the revenues generated in any year, including calendar year 2030, exceed the amount necessary to provide for such environmental projects, then such excess revenues shall be carried over as a fund balance for such environmental projects to be consummated in subsequent years.
C. 
County-wide property tax protection: 32.15% of the total revenues generated each calendar year to reduce or stabilize the County's general property taxes and/or police/public safety property taxes for the subsequent fiscal year by being credited to revenues in direct proportion to real property taxes assessed and collected by the County of Suffolk from parcels within the County. The Suffolk County Taxpayers Trust Fund is hereby created; 32.15% of the total revenues generated each calendar year by such sales and compensating use tax shall be allocated and deposited annually to this trust fund. The annual appropriation of such revenues shall be effectuated via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk. These revenues shall not be used to fund new programs or positions of employment (defined as programs or positions not budgeted by Suffolk County in the prior fiscal year).
D. 
Sewer taxpayer protection: 25% of the total revenues generated each calendar year for sewer district tax rate stabilization only in those instances in which the pertinent sewer district will experience an increase in rates of at least 3% in the aggregate for user charges, operations and maintenance charges, per-parcel charges, and ad valorem assessments in the calendar year for which these sewer district tax stabilization revenues are being allocated. The Suffolk County Sewer Assessment Stabilization Fund is hereby created; 25% of the total revenues generated each calendar year by such sales and compensating use tax shall be allocated and deposited annually to this trust fund. The annual appropriation of such revenues shall be effectuated via duly enacted resolution of the County of Suffolk and shall not reduce the projected rate increase below 3% in the aggregate for user charges, operations and maintenance charges, per-parcel charges, and ad valorem assessments for the year in question. If the revenues generated in any year, including calendar year 2030, exceed the amount necessary to provide such stabilization, then such excess Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund balance shall be carried over as a fund balance for sewer district tax rate stabilization, subject to the provisions of Paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) of this Subsection D. For purposes of this Subsection, the phrase "excess Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund balance" means balances greater than needed for sewer district tax rate stabilization only in those instances in which the pertinent sewer district will experience an increase in rates of at least 3% in the aggregate for user charges, operations and maintenance charges, per-parcel charges, and ad valorem assessments in the calendar year for which these sewer district tax stabilization revenues are being allocated. With respect to the excess Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund referred to in this Subsection D, the calculation of the excess balance, if any, shall be confirmed in writing, jointly certified by the Legislative Office of Budget Review and the Executive Budget Office, as part of the consensus forecast required by Charter § C4-5 and Administrative Code § A4-3E.
[Amended 8-2-2011 by L.L. No. 44-2011; 7-29-2014 by L.L. No. 31-2014]
(1) 
In the event such fund balance exceeds $140 million in fiscal year 2011, 2012 or 2013, 62.5% of these excess monies may be used, via duly approved resolutions of the County of Suffolk, for installation, improvements, maintenance and operation of sewer infrastructure and sewage treatment plants and for the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal septic systems. These monies may be used for projects outside the boundaries of County sewer districts. Thirty-seven and one half percent (37.5%) of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 excess fund balance shall be appropriated via duly approved resolutions to a reserve fund for bonded indebtedness established pursuant to § 6-h of the General Municipal Law or to a retirement contribution reserve fund established pursuant to § 6-r of the General Municipal Law (County Fund 420 and any successor fund).
(2) 
In Fiscal Year 2014 or in any subsequent fiscal year through 2021, the excess Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund balance may be used, via duly approved resolutions of the County of Suffolk, as follows:
(a) 
For payment to a reserve fund for bonded indebtedness established pursuant to § 6-h of the General Municipal Law or such successor fund; or
(b) 
Payment to a retirement contribution reserve fund established pursuant to § 6-r of the General Municipal Law or such successor fund; however, no payment shall be made pursuant to Subsection (a) or (b) after Fiscal Year 2017 or if the fund balance is not sufficient for the annual appropriation of revenues needed for sewer district tax rate stabilization as set forth in Charter § 12-2D; and
(c) 
For installation, improvements, maintenance and operation of sewer infrastructure and sewage treatment plants and for the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal septic systems. These monies may be used for projects outside the boundaries of County sewer districts.
(3) 
In Fiscal Year 2011 or in any subsequent fiscal year through 2021, no less than $2 million will be appropriated via duly approved resolutions in each fiscal year for the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal septic systems. In the event that the appropriation, or any part thereof, for the installation of the residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal septic system is not used in Fiscal Year 2011, or any subsequent fiscal year through 2021, it shall be used for installation, improvement, maintenance and operation of sewer infrastructure and sewage treatment plants.
(4) 
A Sewer Infrastructure Committee (“Committee”) is hereby established to review all applications for funding of sewer infrastructure and sewage treatment projects and enhanced nitrogen removal septic systems and to make advisory recommendations to the County Executive and the County Legislature as to which projects should receive funding.
(a) 
The Committee shall consist of the following members:
[1] 
The Director of Planning, or designee, as Chair;
[2] 
The Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, or designee;
[3] 
The Commissioner of Health Services, or designee;
[4] 
The Commissioner of Economic Development and Workforce Housing, or designee;
[5] 
The Presiding Officer of the County Legislature, or designee;
[6] 
The Minority Leader of the County Legislature, or designee; and
[7] 
The County Executive, or designee.
(b) 
The Committee shall promulgate rules and regulations for the administration of this sewer infrastructure and septic system program and establish criteria and a merit-based scoring system to evaluate applications for funding under this program. Said criteria and scoring system shall award additional credit to those applications that leverage non-County funding and/or further smart growth development.
(c) 
All projects funded hereunder shall be subject to approval by the Suffolk County Legislature after the submission of a recommendation by the Committee.
The management, administration, and day-to-day care and supervision of this program (not the actual allocation of revenues or appropriations) shall be provided by the Department of Environment and Energy, while the Budget Office shall maintain the official records of moneys expended pursuant to each of the funding components of this article.
In the event that the sales and compensating use tax extension contemplated by § C12-2 of the Suffolk County Charter is brought before the County of Suffolk for legislative action and approval, then such sales and compensating use tax extension may only be approved by the County Legislature and County Executive on the condition that the resolution, local law, or charter law imposing such extension contain a condition, term, and/or provision mandating the expiration of such sales and compensating use tax extension no later than November 30, 2030.
A. 
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, expenditures made during fiscal year 2008 only, pursuant to this article, shall not be subject to §§ C4-6B, C4-10E, F and G, and C4-11D of the Suffolk County Charter. In all subsequent years, all pertinent tax cap and expenditure cap laws shall apply to expenditures made and revenues received under this article.
B. 
The revenues generated under this law shall not be available for funding the program contemplated by § C4-6J of the Suffolk County Charter, enacted by Local Law No. 18-1998, which program is funded under its own separate revenue source.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Art. XIIA, Community Greenways Fund, added 6-19-1998 by L.L. No. 27-1998, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 11-17-2009 by L.L. No. 39-2009.