HONESDALE—At their regular business meeting held Thursday, January 25, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners certified $40,503 to be used for Ag Land Preservation Program this year.
Established in 1989, the program allows a nine-member board to purchase conservation easements meant to prevent development of Wayne County Farmland.
Explaining the board's function, Commissioner Brian Smith said,“So what happens is, if you wanna preserve your farm, you go through an application process. The Conservation District actually looks at the soils and lays out the maps.”
From that information, Smith explained the Conservation District then “comes up with what they will offer you to sell your development rights to preserve your farm. This board oversees that.”
According to the county website, the county has acquired over 5,500 acres of farmland through 45 easements since the program's inception.
On February 2, the commissioners approved eight appointments to the board and re-established a term cycle in line with that set under the Ag Land Preservation Act to prevent a similar conflux of term expiries in the future.
The commissioners appointed Francis Motichka, William Bryant, F. Michael Nebzydoski, and D. Ellis Dix to three-year terms as farmer members, effective January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020.
Donald Olsommer, Sr., Christa O'Dell, and Paul Kowalczyk were appointed to one-year terms as at-large representatives, effective January 1 through December 31 of this year.
Daniel Rutledge was appointed to a one-year contractor term also effective January 1 through December 31 of this year.
After this initial reset, each position will receive standard three-year term appointments.
“So they're all three-year terms, but it helps with the staggering,” said Wayne County Chief Clerk Vicky Botjer at the meeting.
The commissioners also appointed Donald Olsommer, Sr., as board Chairman.