Assistance

Through community forums, surveys, and public meetings, local people have repeatedly told the Commission they want to maintain what they treasure most about Tug Hill: clean water, healthy forests, productive farms, stable communities, and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreation. The Commission works toward these goals by building the capacity of the region’s people to chart their own future.

The Commission’s programs and services are directed at strengthening local decision making, saving money through information sharing and training, and help in coordinating and raising funds for community improvement projects. The Commission’s five program areas are described below.

Technical Assistance

The Commission’s technical assistance service, using its institutional knowledge and experience as well as established links with other agencies, answers hundreds of requests for information a year. Questions cover a wide range of topics, including land use law, budgeting, recent legislative actions, and court rulings. This service saves local officials time and money while providing the information they need to govern effectively. More…

Natural Resources Management

Tug Hill is known for its abundant natural resources, including forests, agricultural land, streams and wetlands that provide environmental benefits and support the regional economy that is largely dependent on a working landscape. Commission staff is available to assist local towns and villages, as well as organizations, natural resource-based industries and residents, in managing those natural resources to support both the environment and the economy. This assistance often takes the form of watershed planning and projects, recreational or energy projects, natural resource restoration projects, and support on regional natural resource issues. The Commission also monitors activity pertaining to natural resource use that might affect part or all of the region and shares that information with interested communities and organizations. More…

Community Development

Keeping Tug Hill’s towns and villages, and hamlets healthy is key to retaining the region’s character and economy. Working with economic development organizations of the North Country, the Commission provides technical assistance to the business community to encourage “home grown” job retention. In trying to remain good places to live and work, Tug Hill’s sparsely populated communities are challenged to find funding for “Main Street” revitalization, library restoration, parks, and other community facilities. The Commission helps find grants, loans, and other local resources to make these projects possible.

Water and sewage systems provide residents with a valuable service and play a major in community health and growth potential. However, increasing costs and competition for available funds, is making it more difficult for communities to move ahead on the construction of new systems or replacement of deteriorating systems. In response, the commission has been playing a growing role in helping Tug Hill communities work with state and federal agencies and private consultants to identify cost-effective strategies for building these systems. More…

GIS [THRAM]

The Commission’s geographic information system (computerized mapping) supports all aspects of the agency’s programs and services. The system provides data on land use patterns, property ownership, natural resources, and more. Much of this information would normally be time consuming or expensive for local officials to obtain. Through its GIS system, however, the Commission is able to provide specific information to assist local land use planning and economic development projects, answer technical assistance requests, and aid regional natural resource management projects. More…

Workshops & Issue Papers

A dozen or more workshops each year give local elected and appointed officials the latest information and tools for their jobs. Workshop topics are selected based on locally-expressed needs and deal with such issues as zoning and planning, municipal budgets, SEQR, assessing, junkyards, messy conditions, and maintaining local roads. Presenters include attorneys, planners, environmentalists, and other professionals from around the state. Similarly, the commission produces a series of publications called “Local Government Topics” which provide “how to” summaries of key issues regularly faced by local officials. More…

Planning

When requested, the Commission helps communities in efforts to upgrade their zoning, subdivision regulations, or other local land use controls. While the “return on investment” that comes from good community planning may not be as easy to measure as money raised for sewer, water and related projects, Tug Hill communities certainly gain greater control over their own futures by putting such controls in place. Guiding growth in this way can often have big economic returns in avoiding costs associated with road construction and maintenance and other public services.