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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions:

Answers:

Q: What are building permits required for?
A: Building permits are required for new construction, additions and any alterations to structures that may affect structural components, public safety, means of egress, electrical & mechanical systems and fire protection equipment. Permits are also required for wood and other solid fuel burning stoves, new siding, fences and accessory structures. New wood stove installations are also required to have a certificate of installation approval issued by the Bureau of Code Enforcement in your local city, town or village. In addition, an informational brochure titled “Homeowner’s Guide to Assessments and Permits for Home Improvements” is also available from the bureau.

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Q: Does Troy license electricians and plumbers?
A: The City of Troy offers a Master Electrician test 3 times a year and a Plumber's Exam yearly. Class "B" Electrical Licenses are also available to those who are licensed in another county and wish to do work in Troy. Call the City Clerk at 270-4634 for forms.

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Q: What is my responsibility as a dog owner?
A: Dogs must be cared for in a responsible manner, which does not interfere with the quality of life of residents in the surrounding neighborhood. All dogs must be licensed. A kennel license is required for more than six (6) adult dogs per property. By law, when not confined to their own fenced yards, all dogs must be leashed at all times. Yards must be kept in sanitary condition, free of animal waste. Dog owners are responsible for preventing their dog from nuisance barking.

The owner of a dog is responsible for removing and cleaning any waste or excrement deposited on public or private property. All such waste is to be removed and placed in a plastic bag or metal container and discarded in the same manner as garbage and refuse are discarded. When walking a dog, the owner is required to carry an implement capable of picking up the dog’s waste to discard it.

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Q: Where can I obtain a NYS fishing or hunting license?
A: The Office of the County Clerk sells NYS fishing licenses during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00-4:30. You must bring in last year's license or a valid driver's license to purchase a new license. This office does not sell hunting licenses.

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Q: Where can I get my Tomhannock Reservoir permit?
A: Please contact the Troy City Clerk's Office. They can be reached at 1 Monument Square, Troy, NY or at (518) 270-4541.

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Q: How do I obtain a marriage license?
A: You and your fiancé must appear together in the Office of your City/Town Clerk. Typically no appointment is needed.

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Q: What do I have to bring with me when I apply for a marriage license?
A: Both parties to the marriage must bring a driver's license, passport, birth certificate or other identification showing date of birth and identity.

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Q: If this is not my first marriage, what do I need to do?
A: If you were ever married before, you must bring in an original or certified copy of any divorce decrees, annulments or death certificates for ALL previous marriages - even those performed
outside the U.S. We will not keep these documents.

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Q: How old must I be to get married in New York State?
A: Both parties to a marriage must be eighteen (18) years of age. You may obtain a marriage license if you are 16 or 17 years old with the written consent of both parents of the minor and both
parents must be present at the time of licensing.

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Q: Do I need a blood test to get a marriage license?
A: Medical exams and blood testing is not required.

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Q: Where can I use my marriage license if I get it in Troy?
A: You can get a marriage license in any city or town clerk's office anywhere within New York State and you can use this license to get married anywhere within the state. However, after you are married, your marriage record will remain in the office where you obtained your license.

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Q: Is there a waiting period for a marriage license?
A: There is a twenty-four (24) waiting period before you can use your marriage license although you will receive it on the spot. It will be date and time stamped. Your license DOES EXPIRE within sixty (60) days so you should never get a license more than sixty days before you intend on using it.

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Q: When should I call 911?
A: When there is an emergency, lives are in danger, serious injury, serious medical condition, crime in progress, or any other situation needing immediate attention.

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Q: Do I have to give my name when I call 911?
A: If you wish to remain anonymous or keep information confidential just tell the operator.

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Q: What should you do if you see a crime occurring?
A: Call 911 immediately.
Be observant and make mental notes.
Are there any weapons involved?
What is the address?
Any physical characteristics such as height, weight, race, beard, or scars?
Any clothing description?
How many people involved?
Are the persons involved on foot or in a vehicle?

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Q: How do I teach my children to use 911?
A: Never say "nine eleven." There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say "nine-one-one."
Always call from a safe place. If there is a fire in the house, get out first and then call.
Post your address near the phone.
Never call 9-1-1 as a prank or joke. You can get into trouble and keep someone who really needs help from getting it in time.
9-1-1 is not for animal emergencies. Also leave the number for the vet next to the phone.
Call 9-1-1 if you think you have an emergency and explain the situation to the dispatcher. If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, don't hang up. Explain the mistake to the dispatcher and say there is NO EMERGENCY.

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Q: What are some examples of crime emergencies that should be reported by calling 911?
A: Fights, sexual assaults, etc.
Homicides
Burglaries and robberies
Flashlight beam in a business or home, especially if the business is closed or the residents are away
Domestic violence
Child and elder abuse
Sounds of gunshots, screaming, barking dogs, breaking glass, explosions, alarms, etc.
Hit and run accidents with possible injuries
Vehicles containing weapons or property not normally kept in vehicles
Ongoing dumping of fuel or other hazardous substances
Road hazards that require immediate attention to prevent personal injuries and property damage
Graffiti and other acts of vandalism in progress
Runaway juvenile or missing person who needs special care -- be sure to tell the operator if the person needs medication and has a special problem, e.g., Alzheimer's disease

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Q: How can I get a copy of a police report?
A: You must submit a written request for the report through the US mail. The written request must contain: Date of incident, time of incident, location of incident, parties involved, incident report number (if known).

Mail your request to your local police department, sherriff or state police.

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Q: How do I report a crime?
A: The ability of the police to locate and arrest criminals often depends on the thoroughness and accuracy of the report you submit. The following information checklist should be used for reporting both emergency and non-emergency crimes:

Type of crime
Location: exact street address and nearest cross street
Time of occurrence
Weapons used
Number of persons injured and types of injuries
Vehicle information: type, license number, color, year, make, model, unusual characteristics (e.g., dents, bumper stickers), number of persons, etc.
Suspect information: race, gender, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length and style, eye color, facial hair, clothing type and color, other characteristics (e.g., tattoos, missing teeth, scars, glasses), direction of flight, etc.

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Q: Is graffiti illegal?
A: Graffiti on any public or private property is illegal. Graffiti is defined as any etching, painting, drawing or other marking on public or private property. It is the responsibility of the property owner to remove graffiti from private property.

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Q: Do all buildings and structures need street numbers?
A: All buildings and structures must have street numbers. These numbers or letters must be clearly visible from the street. The City's police and firefighters rely on the numbers for identification of buildings. Quicker recognition of your address by the police or firefighters will save valuable time, and may mean the difference between life and death.

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Q: Where do I obtain a birth certificate copy for someone born in New York City?
A: For births in one of the five (5) boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Kings, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island), please visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web site. Please note that the borough of Kings is sometimes referred to as Brooklyn and the borough of Staten Island is sometimes referred to as Richmond.

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Q: Where do I obtain a birth certificate copy for someone not born in Troy or New York City?
A: A birth certificate may be obtained from the local registrar of the city you were born in or from the New York State Department of Health. You may apply online at http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/vr/forms/birth.htm


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Q: Who is eligible to obtain a birth certificate copy?
A: The person named on the birth certificate
A parent of the person named on the birth certificate (requesting parent's name must be on birth certificate)
A spouse, child or other persons by order of a New York State Court

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Q: What are the identification requirements?
A: Application must be submitted with copies of either A or B

A)
One (1) of the following forms of valid photo-ID
-Driver license
-Non-driver license
-Passport
-Employment ID or:

B)
Two (2) of the following showing the applicant's name and address
-Utility or telephone bills
-Letter from a government agency dated within the last six (6) months

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Q: What is the fee for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate?
A: The fee is $10 per copy or $11 for genealogy copies
Payment is accepted in the form of a check or money order payable to the Registrar/City of Troy or cash.

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Q: How long will it take to get the certified copy?
A: -If you come in person to City Hall, in most cases you will receive the certificate immediately.
-U.S. Postal Express, UPS Overnight, FedEx, etc. gets sent out immediately
-Regular first class mail requests are usually sent out within 2 days.
-Genealogy requests may take up to 2 weeks

Note: Processing times are approximate and may vary with current workload volumes as well as circumstances beyond our control.

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Q: If I wasn't born in New York State, how do I get a copy of my birth certificate?
A: To obtain a copy of any certificate, write or go to the Vital Statistics office in the state or area the event occurred.
A complete listing of all state offices are available online at:
http://www.cdc.gov/states.htm

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Q: Where can I obtain information from my birth record if I'm adopted?
A: NYS Department of Health Vital Records Section operates the Adoption Information Registry. The Registry helps adoptees obtain available non-identifying information about their birth parents and enables the reunion of registered adoptees with their birth parents and biological siblings. Finally, the Registry provides a place for birth parents to file medical information updates which may be shared with registered adoptees. To request an application:

-Write to:
Adoption Information Registry
New York State Department of Health
PO Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602
** Please be certain to include your name, mailing address and the type of application you need, i.e., adoptee, birth parent or biological sibling.

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Q: Where do I go to file my DBA?
A: The Rensselaer County Clerk's Office
Rensselaer County Courthouse
Second & Congress Street
Troy, NY 12180

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Q: Can I have a copy of the County Zoning Law?
A: This office does have copies of most community zoning maps and laws in Rensselaer County. However, all of the territory in Rensselaer County is part of a municipality, and most of these have their own zoning ordinances.

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Q: Do you have any County Highway Maps?
A: We do not have any printed maps.

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Q: Do you have a first-time homeowner program?
A: Rensselaer County does not, however, the City of Troy and Rensselaer may still have funding available. Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP) also train people looking forward to owning their own homes.

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Q: What do I need to bring, when I go vote?
A: We recommend that you bring your drivers’ license or a picture ID, in case inspectors need to verify identification.

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Q: What if I’m not permitted to vote?
A: If your name is not in the pollbook, it may be because your registration form was not received or, for a primary, because you aren’t enrolled in a party. If you believe that you are eligible, you can still vote. Ask for an affidavit ballot, which is a paper ballot. The Board of Elections will check its records and your vote will be counted if you are indeed eligible to vote.

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Q: If I register to vote, will I be called for jury duty?
A: Jurors are drawn from lists of state taxpayers and licensed drivers as well as from voter registration rolls. Do not give up your right to vote in the hope that you will avoid jury duty. Chances are, if you pay taxes or drive a car, you may still be called.

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Q: Can I obtain special help at the polls, if I need it?
A: Yes. A voter with a disability may have the assistance of anyone of his or her choice, so long as the person providing the assistance is not the voter’s employer or union agent. If the voter requests assistance from inspectors, one from each of the two parties represented there will help.

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Q: Do I have to register every year?
A: NO. Once you register, you are registered to vote in that county. Name, address or party enrollment changes, can be made by submitting a new registration form. If you move out of the county you must register in your new county.

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Q: What is a primary election?
A: A Primary election is an election at which only enrolled members of a party may vote. Primaries are held by the party to choose their candidates for the General Election.

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Q: Can I change my party enrollment?
A: Yes. Registered voters may apply for a change of enrollment by submitting a new registration form indicating the party enrollment change. The form must be received not later than the 25th day before the general election. The change becomes effective 7days after the general election.

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