Story by Lourice Angie
The Greenwood Lake Board of Trustees held their annual reorganization meeting, preceded by a public hearing on the 2018-19 Village budget on Thurs., Apr. 12. Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer opened the public budget hearing with a discussion of the public workshop held on Mon., Mar. 26. Since that workshop, the Board has worked carefully to finalize a responsible budget that will accomplish the goals set for the year ahead, while ensuring residents receive the valuable resources needed to obtain a great quality of life in Greenwood Lake.
Mayor Dwyer announced that the Board has remained under the tax cap for five years and received the best score possible from the NYS Comptroller’s Office of zero fiscal stress for two consecutive years. Maintaining a zero fiscal stress in every measure is a challenging goal. The Village was able to achieve this while investing in new parks and infrastructure worth over $500,000.
In addition, a new truck for the Department of Public Works was purchased, pedestrian safety measures were taken, youth services and recreation were expanded, health and wellness activities were planned, and a robust tourism operation was executed.
The Board has sought grants whenever possible and has strived to run the municipality the way they would their own homes, with long-term sustainability and management being a top priority. Dwyer reported that the 2019 general budget is $3,670,995 and the water budget is $710,777. The total tax rate for 2019 is $54.23 per assessed thousand.
“This year the tax cap came in less than one percent. We expect that trend to continue,” said Dwyer.
Before the public hearing was closed Mayor Dwyer thanked the Village Board, the department heads, staff and clerks for all of their hard work on the budget.
Trustees Katheleen Holder & Chad Sellier Sworn In
Mayor Dwyer called upon newly re-elected trustees Katheleen Holder and Chad Sellier to take the oath of office. Both will serve on the Village Board for a two-year term. After being sworn in, Dwyer congratulated both trustees on their re-appointment.
2018-19 Reorganization Appointments
The following appointments were made: Mayor Jesse Dwyer: Police Department Liaison, Municipal Water Liaison, Economic Development, Greenwood Lake Coalition, Admin/Finance/Budget, and Greenwood Lake Commission.
Trustee Katheleen Holder: Recreation Programs, Library Liaison, Health and Wellness, Community Organizations, and School Board Liaison.
Trustee Thomas Howley: Police Department Liaison, Municipal Water Liaison, Public Safety Liaison, Fire/Ambulance Liaison, and Public Works Liaison.
Trustee Kelli Kelm: Deputy Mayor, Recreation Programs, Chamber of Commerce, Greenwood Lake Coalition, Senior Citizen Liaison, and Marriage Officer.
Trustee Chad Sellier: Building Department Liaison, Planning Board Liaison, Village Code Committee, Zoning Board Liaison, Revit Liaison, and Economic Development.
Other appointments made include: Patricia Olsen, Village Clerk; Elizabeth Farrell, Deputy Clerk; John L. Buckheit, Village Attorney; Bruce Dunn, ZBA Attorney; Alyse Terhune, Planning Board Attorney; Eileen Astorino, Registrar, Vital Statistics and Town of Warwick Clerk; Daniel Walsh, Acting Village Justice; Rev. Robert Sweeney, Chaplain; Richard Hubner, Assessor; Kathleen Rousseau, Court Clerk; Donna Garley, Senior Citizens Director; Michael Richardson, Labor Consultant; the Warwick Valley Dispatch, Official Newspaper; Alfred Fusco, Jr., Building Inspector; John Hansen, Village Chief of Police; Long Pond Water Works, Water Plant Operator; Interstate Waste, Garbage and Refuse; Sterling National, Bank Depository; Robert Zimmer, Planning Board Chairman; and Diane Bramich, Zoning Board Chairperson. Marriage Officers are Mayor Jesse Dwyer and Trustee Kelli Kelm. The official meeting dates for the Board of Trustees are the third Monday of the Month at 7:30 p.m.
Mayor Dwyer attended a G.L School Board public safety forum meeting on Thurs., Apr. 5 at the G.L. Elementary School with Police Chief John Hansen, Town of Warwick Councilman Russell Kowal, Warwick Police Chief Tom McGovern and Lieutenant John Rader. The main issue discussed was school safety and armed security. School Board members in attendance were supportive of the idea of having armed security. Dwyer said they will have to determine how to budget accordingly and whether the security will be a Police Officer or an armed School Resource Officer, but it will ultimately come down to what is decided and voted on by residents of the G.L. School District.
“I advocated in favor of some form of armed security at the schools. It was a good meeting. I think mostly they wanted to give the community an opportunity to voice concerns, suggestions and recommendations. Once we have a finalized date on the School District budget presentation we will let everyone know so they can attend,” said Dwyer.
G.L Joint Fire District to Vacate Firehouse
The Village Board has received written correspondence from G.L. Fire District Chairman Wayne T. Russo giving notice that the G.L. Joint Fire District will be vacating the firehouse, located on Waterstone Rd., by Thurs., May 31. The Board is looking into ways to utilizing the space to expand the Village Hall.
Trustee Holder reported that there are currently four open seats on the School Board. The vote and budget vote will be held on Tues., May 15 at the G.L Elementary School. The opening day for Greenwood Lake Little League is Sat., Apr. 21.
Trustee Kelm reported that applications are still being accepted for the G.L. Street Fair scheduled to be held on Sat., Jun. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applications can be downloaded at www.villageofgreenwoodlake.org. For additional information call 477-2652.
Trustee Sellier is actively seeking out ZBA and Planning Board alternates. Sellier is interviewing potential candidates who will be presented to the Board. Mayor Dwyer said that if anyone has a candidate in mind, they can contact the Village Board.
The Clerks Report stated that water bills are due on Fri., Apr. 20. If anyone has questions or concerns or problems paying a water bill, call the village clerk at 477-9215. The clerk is currently preparing for the upcoming tax season.
Leaf pick up has started. For the Windermere west side of Lake, it will be on Mondays and for the east side of the lake, it will be on Thursdays.
Residents are reminded to call the Village Hall to report potholes or any winter damage.
New Municipal Well
G.L. Water Operator Phil Landru spoke briefly about the progression of the new well situation. The Village received the preliminary Health Department approvals to move ahead with the location and is now applying to the DEC for the water taking permit and the buffer permit for the wetlands.
“Everything seems to be moving well and on track, we’ll keep everyone posted” said Dwyer.
Short Term Residential Rentals
After holding their final public hearing and finalizing all areas of the short term rental law, the Board has posted a checklist of fees and inspection items that are available on the Village website and available to property owners starting Tues., Apr. 17. Mayor Dwyer announced that inspection scheduling will begin within the next couple of weeks. The actual inspections will be conducted throughout the course of May and by Fri., Jun. 1. Anyone operating a short term residential rental (Airbnb) must have a valid and approved permit in the Village of Greenwood Lake. Anyone operating without a permit will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per day.
“Everyone involved really contributed and we feel we had the perfect balance in creating this law and I’m pretty excited to see how effective it is in managing and also continuing the promotion of tourism for short term rentals and the safety of the renters, but most importantly, protecting the taxpayers and residents who live here full time,” said Dwyer.
Part Time Police Contract
A counter proposal for a part time police contract was submitted to the police union and Mayor Dwyer updated the Board that he will meet with them and report back any decisions that are made.
Solar at Continental Road
Last month the Village Board authorized Mayor Dwyer to start investigating companies in regards to potentially putting solar panels on the vacant 17-acre property on the top of Warwick Mountain that once served as the Village dump site. Dwyer says he’s actively pursuing companies to bid for the project. The Board will be updated as the search progresses.
The Board announced that the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant process through the community block grant program is now open. Mayor Dwyer said the Board has considered redeveloping the Village Hall entryway to make it more handicapped accessible. The Board is looking to apply for these handicap upgrades at the doorway, the public window area and the bathrooms as well. The board is applying to HUD for those upgrades and has scheduled a public hearing on Mon., Apr. 23 at 6 p.m.
Mayor Dwyer announced that, as many are award, the sidewalk project was started last year and will continue this year. The Village received additional CHIPS allocation funding in the amount of $17,000, bringing the total amount to $130,000, with $30,000 of that rolled over, bringing the total amount to $160,000. Dwyer says the estimated cost of finishing the sidewalks between Oak St. and Elm St. is approximately $45,000.
Hoboken Film Festival Set for May 18-24
Significant changes were made to make the Hoboken Film Festival much more reasonable and accommodating this year. This year there will be three event locations: the Cove Castle, the Elks Lodge and the Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Beach. Movie show times have been changed from all day to showing from 6 to 11 p.m. Food will not be offered “free of charge” during the opening and closing night galas. The Village anticipates that this will encourage guests to go out and support local businesses. Advertising is being ramped up for the film fest and better marketing has been done.
“I think it’s going to be a great and exciting time. Louis Gossett, Jr., from “An Officer and a Gentleman,” will headline this year’s festival. It will be a great star-studded event,” said Dwyer.
Greenwood Lake Radio Every Friday!
Tune in to hear all about Greenwood Lake every Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Mayor Dwyer will host “Greenwood Lake Radio” on WTBQ, our local news and talk radio station. The show can be streamed live on www.wtbq.com or you can listen at 93.5 FM or 1110 AM. Callers who would like to talk about any topic can call 651-1110.
Next Village board Meeting
The next G.L. Village Board meeting will be held on Mon., May. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Courthouse, located at 47 Waterstone Rd. This will be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. workshop.