By JAIME STUDD
For the Express
MAYFIELD — The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District Board of Directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to recalculate the amounts it seeks to charge five neighboring counties for the flood protection it provides.
In May, New York’s Appellate Court upheld a lower court ruling that allows the district to charge Warren, Washington, Albany, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties for flood control benefits, but ordered the district to “reduce the total amount to be apportioned by the amount chargeable to the state.”
HRBRRD Executive Director Mike Clark said he and his staff have spent the better part of the last two months calculating how much of the area in question should be attributed to the state, paying special attention to the roads and bridges, as directed by the court.
Robert Leslie, who serves as General Counsel for the regulating district, said the method used to calculate the state’s share of the apportionment is similar the formula used in 2010 to determine the counties’ share in that both are based on the value of real property within the 100-year flood plain and both recognize flood protection as “the most substantial and clearly defined benefit.”
To calculate the state’s share, the district used the assessed value of all the real property owned by the state within the flood plain areas of the five counties, adding to it the value of all the state roads and bridges.
According to figures provided to the district by the state Department of Transportation, there are 46.4 miles of state roads within the affected area. Using a unit cost of $1.5 million per mile of roadway, which, according to the district, is considered an accepted standard, the new apportionment calculates the value of state-owned roads to be $69.6 million.
The district’s report estimates there to be 19 state bridges within the affected area, with a total deck surface of 953,519 square feet. Their value was calculated by applying a unit value of $300 per square foot for deck replacement, bringing the total value of the bridges to $286,055,700.
Using those figures, the district believes the amount chargeable to the state is 11.96 percent of the total value of all property receiving flood protection.
According to a memo written by Leslie in support of the new apportionment, an invoice will be delivered to the Division of Budget and the Office of the Comptroller seeking payment of the state’s share.
With the state’s share deducted from the original apportionment figures for the five counties, the district calculated new figures that it believes each county now owes. Those figures reflect the amounts apportioned out to the counties, minus the state’s share, via the original apportionment methods found to be valid by the courts.
According to regulating district report, the agency now intends to seek $5,059,804 in back payments and $1,284,783 for the current fiscal year from Albany County. Rensselaer County will be charged $2,981,385 for previous years and $751,784 for the current year. Saratoga County will be charged $3,916,315 and $987,404 respectively. Warren County is being charged $918,271 and $231,520 and the district is seeking $523,236 and $131,921 from Washington County.
“We looked at probably a dozen different ways of doing this,” Clark said on Tuesday. “I’m confident that the manner we chose to adheres to the requirements of the Appellate Third Division decision.”
Following the regulating district’s approval, the new apportionment was forwarded to the Department of Environmental Conservation to be certified.
Following the DEC’s expected approval of the new apportionment, copies of the plan will be delivered to officials in the affected counties.
The regulating district will conduct a grievance hearing on the matter at its September meeting.