Ruling could end state forest land taxes

I believe these benefits still exist today, and that the appeal will ultimately affirm the legitimacy of continuing that practice on Forest Preserve lands, said Sayward.

While I am an optimist, I am not a gambler! I am asking the governor and DEC Commissioner Grannis to place a moratorium on any further land purchases in either the Adirondack or the Catskill Parks until this issue is resolved in the courts, said Sayward.

Adirondack Council Spokesman John Sheehan said his organization is currently advocating for two major land purchases. The Lassiter Property and Clerical Medical Investment Group Land Sales total close to 100,000 acres.

He said that Saywards proposal would stop the state from acquiring crucial properties as they went on the market. The Adirondack Council is a not-for-profit environmental group that seeks to protect the Adirondack Park through advocacy.

We're not certain that's going to do any good. In fact, we think it could very easily prevent some important properties from being acquired over the next couple years, said Sheehan.

Sheehan said the moratorium doesnt make any sense, since the courts decision hadnt resulted in any harm to the Adirondacks. He said the state legislature should focus on proposing and drafting legislation to ensure the payments continued.

It's very high in our focus because we want to be sure that the compensation to local government remains in place, or we will see a strong reaction from local government against forest preserve in the future, said Sheehan.

Sayward visited the Essex County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 27, asking for support for the moratorium. The board also filed an Amicus Curie brief with the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division.

Essex County Real Property Tax Services Director Bernard Miller was keeping an eye on the court case, but felt it was highly unlikely that the payments would cease. He encouraged the county board to file the friends of the court brief.

I don't think we have to panic, but we have to make our case in the courts, said Miller.

State forestry payments to Essex County towns
Chesterfield - $31,788.89
Crown Point - $67,252.90
Elizabethtown - $116,456.14
Essex - $11,859.64
Jay - $42,947.73
Keene - $668,892.63
Lewis - $37,830.44
Minerva - $1,153,916.64
Moriah - $54,920.80
Newcomb - $3,062,537.11
North Elba - $610,887.98
North Hudson - $564,465.68
St. Armand - $208,517.08
Schroon - $403,415.37
Ticonderoga - $180,040.14
Westport - $37,660.81
Willsboro - $859.57
Wilmington - $298,047.39

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