GENEVA — The Town Board is having another public hearing on its short-term rental law, this time to possibly increase penalties for violations.
The board, which met Tuesday night, set a Nov. 10 date for the hearing. It will be at 6 p.m., before the board’s regular meeting.
Town Supervisor Mark Venuti said the hearing will include discussion of a proposed amendment to a local law adopted earlier this year to regulate short-term rentals, mostly on Seneca Lake.
Currently, penalties for violations are at the discretion of the code enforcement officer. They range from $250 for a first offense to $750 for repeated offenses and possible suspension of the permit.
That could change to $500 for a first offense, $1,000 for a second and $1,500 for a third and subsequent violations. Venuti believes the current penalties are not enough for renters making thousands of dollars on their property.
“This will put some bite into the local law,” Venuti said.
In other board matters Tuesday:
• BUDGET — The board adopted the town’s 2021 budget, which is approximately $5.4 million. Venuti said because of lower sales-tax revenue due to COVID-19 and an expected reduction in state aid, spending in next year’s general fund is down about $107,000 from the current budget, and highway spending is down about $144,000.
Venuti said there are still no plans for a town property tax.
“We are putting off some road paving the highway superintendent wanted to do, and are fortunate we don’t have a couple of big-ticket items that were in the 2020 budget, like a new roof for the town hall and a 10-wheel plow truck,” he said. “Those are not needed in 2021, so we’re able to come in with lower spending without affecting services or adding new taxes. The town will continue to provide reliable services to residents, visitors and businesses.”
• FIRE DISTRICTS — Venuti said the town is forming a committee to look at fire protection in the town, including contracts with its three districts — White Springs, West Lake Road, and North Side.
“They are getting paid about the same amount, but are vastly different,” said Venuti, noting White Springs responds to about 300 calls per year, West Lake Road less than 100, and North Side about 40.
• APPOINTMENT — The board reappointed town resident Sandy Ansley to another five-year term on the board of assessment review.