• The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce calls upon all local units of government to ensure that a continuous and thorough review of all governmental activities and spending authorizations occur, with the intent of minimizing the tax burden on its businesses and citizens. The Chamber recognizes the budgetary pressures exerted on local governments through unfunded mandates imposed by the state and federal governments; however, where local government continues to have discretion as to expenditures, the Chamber believes that the principle set forth above should be given all due consideration.
• The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce encourages the Orleans County Planning and Development Department and Board to partner with the Towns to implement and maintain a comprehensive and dynamic land use plan for all available land for agricultural, commercial, industrial, residential and recreational use. The majority of the County should be prime farmlands protected by agricultural districts. The plan would also provide greenfield sites to attract new industries, designated areas for new housing development and existing housing areas for renewal. The plan should also include maintenance of the valuable natural and man made land and water resources that exist in and around the County. The plan should be reviewed and updated every five years to maintain optimum effectiveness.
• Modern transportation and communication have forever altered the environment in which local governmental operates. New opportunities for intergovernmental cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and consolidation hold the potential for improved public services at a reduced cost. The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce believes immediate progress in this area can be made. Opportunities exist in the following areas: 1. Increasing cooperation between jurisdictions on issues of common interest. 2. Reducing the duplication of services. 3. Sharing services and equipment. 4. Pooling purchases to receive volume pricing. The Chamber urges local officials to seek out and take advantage of these opportunities to save the taxpayers’ money. The Chamber offers its assistance to help bring jurisdictions together, to discuss the benefits this organization has seen from its own merger, and to help promote these efforts to the business community and the general public.
• The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce calls upon the County Legislature to authorize participation in the Sales Tax Holiday for Clothing. Communities across New York State have found that the benefits of this program outweigh the costs and almost all counties participate. The Chamber believes the business community will benefit in a number of ways: o The holiday will be a direct benefit to those selling clothes, diapers, and yarn. o Neighboring businesses will benefit from having consumers stay in the local area to purchase their clothing. o Likewise, when Orleans County residents shop for clothing outside the county they tend to make other purchases (ie gas, food, specialty items and services) outside the county which will negatively impact local businesses and county sales tax revenues o It will reward loyal customers, who deserve to benefit from this tax relief, for continuing to shop locally. o This action will show the business community and local residents that the County Legislature cares about promoting local business and saving consumers money.
• The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce believes that municipalities must recognize that the health of the local economy is directly related to the ability of business to succeed and that high local taxes directly impact that ability. With New York State properties being among the highest taxed in the nation, assessors must be vigilant in their assessment process, being fair and equitable in order to encourage and sustain existing business, as well as encourage new business to the county. “Fair and equitable” should include using comparisons from like economic areas and careful consideration of the unique characteristics of the local property. Further, the Chamber supports an impartial, non-political, open-minded, and independent Board of Assessment Review and encourages towns to appoint persons with experience and knowledge of real estate and property values to serve on those boards. The OCCC believes in efficiency in government and urges municipalities to combine and consolidate assessment services in order to lower the high cost of supporting and maintaining the many local units of government in Orleans County (see LG3). The Chamber believes that the consolidation of assessment experience will increase consistency and accuracy in assessments across the county, which will act to encourage business growth.