Town of Westfield
Fisherman sailboat Harbor at sunset pier

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

 

Town Clerk | Town Collector of Taxes | Town Assessor | Building Inspector - Code Enforcement

Town Clerk

Q. When do I need to license my dog and what is the fee?
A. New York State requires that dogs be licensed at the age of four months. Rabies information and spay/neuter forms from your veterinarian must be presented at the time of licensing. Licenses for spayed/neutered dogs are $5, $13 if they are not.

Q. What paperwork is needed when applying for a marriage license?
A. All applicants must present drivers licenses, birth certificates and divorce decrees when applying for a marriage license. Applicants may not marry for 24 hours after receiving the license, which is good for 60 days. The cost is $40.

Q. What do I need to do to apply for a new birth certificate?
A. A driver's license must be presented to receive a copy of a birth certificate. Certified copies cost $10. Birth certificates are only available to the person named in the certificate or his or her parent. 

Q. Where do I purchase a Transfer Tag for disposal of garbage?
A. Transfer tags may be purchased at the Town Clerk’s office at 23 Elm Street from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday, or at the Transfer Station on Bourne St. on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You will receive 25 punches for $20. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk at 326-3211.

Q. Where may I purchase a fishing or hunting license?
A. Fishing licenses may be purchased from the Town Clerk’s office at 23 Elm Street, or at the Dan Reed Pier on Rt. 5. Hunting licenses go on sale the middle of August and may be obtained at the Town Clerk’s office.

Town Collector of Taxes

Q. Do we accept Electronic Payments or Credit Cards?
A. Due to the fees involved in order for the town to provide the service and the limited number of property owners actually requesting to use this method of payment, the town has chosen not to use this service.

Q. Do we send out duplicate tax receipts?
A. We prefer not to have to send out a duplicate receipt because of the cost to the taxpayers. Please be sure to bring or mail the entire bill with payment.

Q. Do we accept US Postmark or express delivery as payment date?
A. Only those payments received in a postpaid wrapper (envelope) properly addressed to the appropriate collecting address and deposited in a post office or official depository under the exclusive rights and custody of the United States Post Office will be accepted. A postage meter postmark is not a postmark made by the United States Post Office. Real Property Tax Law 925

Q. Can I pay my taxes in partial payments?
A. Neither the Town and County tax nor the School tax can be paid in partial payments to the Tax Collector. Once the tax collection period has ended and the bills have been returned to the office of the Chautauqua County Real Property Tax Services, the county tax director can make partial payment arrangements with you.

Q. Can I pre-pay my taxes?
A. Collection cannot begin prior to the date of the tax warrant and the date when the collecting officer receives the tax warrant. The Chautauqua County office of Real Property Tax Services is the entity that creates the tax warrants for each district or township.

Town Assessor

Q. When is the last day to file for STAR?
A. As with all exemptions in the Town of Westfield, the last day to file each year is March 1st

Q. Where can I find information on Exemptions?
A. Please contact the Assessor in person or by telephone to discuss exemptions that may be available to you.

Building Inspector – Code Enforcement

Q. What do I need a building permit for?
A. All work that must comply with code requires a building permit.  If you are not sure, most likely a permit is required. Exceptions: ordinary repairs with like materials that do not affect structural members, painting, siding, replacement windows of the same size, and re-roofing of no more than 3 layers of roofing material. Any change in use or occupancy of a building or space, will require a permit, and commonly will require additional analysis from a registered architect or engineer licensed in New York State.

Q. Are stamped architectural blue prints required for all permitted work?
A. No, only new residential construction, and additions, that have a gross sq. ft. of 1500 sq. ft., or the value of construction exceeds $20,000. Additions include existing sq. ft. of the building plus the addition. All commercial work requiring a building permit, also require stamped blue prints.

Q. Do I need a permit to construct a garden shed?
A. Sheds limited to 144 sq. ft., or a 12 x 12, do not require a building permit.  However, they are required to comply with the yard and setback requirements prescribed in the specific zoning district. Larger buildings require a building permit and a permanent foundation.

Q. I want to put up a sign, what do I need to do?
A. Generally, all signs require a permit for approval from the Building Inspector. Depending on the nature of the sign and proposed location, some more restrictive standards may need to be followed. This also applies to existing signs in need of maintenance or repair that do not have a valid permit on record.

Q. How much will a building permit cost?
A. Residential construction permits are calculated by multiplying the sq. ft. of the project by $.08. A minimum charge of $35.00 will be assessed for smaller projects. All commercial construction fees are based on the cost of construction.

Q. I want to complain about my neighbor’s messy property, but I want to remain anonymous!
A.  Signed complaint forms are required for any building/zoning complaint filed with the Code Enforcement Office. However, even though the person complained of has the right to review the written complaint, he or she does NOT have the right to know the identity of the complainant, and the complainant’s name is redacted from the complaint form if a defendant wishes to review it.

Q. Why do I need a building permit now to do the same work I did 5 years ago, that didn’t require a building permit?
A. New York State adopted a new Building Code in 2003. The newer edition surpasses the old code. The work done in the past may not have required a building permit then, but does under the new edition.

Q. Do I need a permit for a yard sale?
A. No.  However, signs are not permitted to be posted on utility poles, and signs are limited to 4 sq. ft. in size.

Q. What is a Special Use Permit?
A. Special Use Permits are permits that allow a specific use in a zoning district, but involve additional requirements prior to permit approval. A public hearing, adjacent property notification, county planning, adjacent municipality notification and environment reviews are all examples of some of the additional requirements of a Special Use Permit.