Story by Lourice Angie
The Warwick Town Board assembled for a reorganization meeting at the Town Hall on Tues., Jan 2. Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton delivered the state of the Town address and made several appointments for the New Year. Before the start of the reorganization meeting, Sweeton held a moment of silence for community member Robert Faulls who passed away in December.
“Our community was made better by having Rob among us and we will miss him dearly,” said Supervisor Sweeton.
Sweeton then read his address saying that the year 2017 ended with Federal Tax Law changes, the Governor’s Executive Order and much confusion on which 2018 property taxes could be prepaid in 2018. It was local government that was left to clarify the issue and the Town quickly mobilized to handle the public’s questions. The Receiver of Taxes and her staff did an exceptional job and everyone was handled with courtesy, professionalism and efficiency.
Also in 2017 long needed upgrades to security at the Town Hall complex were completed with the installation of key card controlled doors, cameras and limited access to non-public areas. The 20-year-old HVAC system was replaced with high efficiency units which will result in lower energy costs. Sweeton commented that thanks to the work of the Town Employee Safety Committee and the employees, Worker’s Compensation rates for Town workers continue to decline.
Sweeton said that service to Senior Citizens was enhanced with the spring launch of the Warwick Friendly Visitor Program, which pairs volunteers from the community with seniors that need small chores or services performed for them. This service is free to all seniors, thanks this year to the Warwick Valley Rotary and the volunteer steering committee. The Warwick Dial-A-Bus service, also used heavily by seniors, was improved with the opening of the newly constructed office/garage building, funded 90% by a Federal/State transportation grant. The construction used all local labor and came in on time and under budget.
In an effort to keep taxes in line, the Town continued its long record of sharing services with other municipalities. The Town sold a surplus sweeper to another Town that then provided the match for a grant from NYS Senator John Bonacic, allowing Warwick to purchase a replacement backhoe for one that was over 18 years old. The Town also jointly purchased a new plow truck with the Village of Greenwood Lake for use in the Eastern portion of the Town. Additional allocation from the State allowed Warwick to increase road resurfacing work this year by 50%.
Recreation improvements included a kayak launch at the Wickham Woodlands Park, a boat dock and parking lot improvement constructed by an Eagle Scout at the boat launch park on Simpson Ln., and a complete renovation of the bathroom/shower facility at the Town beach by staff from the Department of Public Works.
The Beautiful People organization, with help from a grant from Major League Baseball, broke ground on the handicap-accessible field at Wickham Woodlands which will provide sports opportunities for children with disabilities.
The Town of Warwick Police Department had a very busy year with numerous arrests, many cases solved, drug rings destroyed, and the safe handling of the countless community events held throughout the year. Warwick remains a safe community thanks to the men and women of the Warwick Police Department.
The year ended with the culmination of a community visioning effort called Community2gether, which is supported by the Town and all three of its Villages. Information on what people in Warwick would like to see for the future of the community will be issued in a report early in 2018.
Lastly, the Town is fortunate to have employees who work hard to provide essential services to residents as cost effectively as possible. The Town is blessed with residents who value the natural environment, the beautiful villages and all of the opportunities that living in a small town provide. The Town Board looks forward to serving the residents of Warwick in the coming year and continuing to be the caretakers of this very special place.
Appointments, Salaries & Meeting Dates
Supervisor Sweeton appointed James Gerstner as Deputy Supervisor at $6,000 during the year 2018 with all powers of the Supervisor. Other appointments made included Board members to be liaisons to the following: Planning and Zoning – Supervisor Michael Sweeton; Animal Control, Airport, and Village of Greenwood Lake – Councilman Floyd DeAngelo; Water and Sewer, Recycling, Public Works, and Village of Florida – Councilman Mickey Shuback; Police, Technology Coordinator, Recreation, Cable Television Regulation, and Village of Warwick – Councilman James Gerstner; Parks and Labor Management – Councilman Russell Kowal; and Claims Coordinator, Town Clerk Eileen Astorino.
Salaries were set for the following elected officials: Town Supervisor at $61,200; Town Clerk at $58,575; four Councilmen at $11,750/each; two Town Justices at $26,500 each; and Receiver of Taxes at $40,434.
The Official Newspaper for the Town of Warwick is the Warwick Valley Dispatch; the Town Historian is Dr. Richard Hull and Sue Gardner is the Deputy Town Historian; and marriage officers for 2018 are Michael Sweeton, James Gerstner, John Johansen, and Michael Newhard.
Town Board meetings are typically held every other Thursday, starting on Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick. Town Board workshops are held prior to the Town Board meetings. To get a full schedule of dates and times, visit www.townofwarwick.org.
The Planning Board Chairman for 2018 is Benjamin Astorino. The Planning Board meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of the month, except holidays, at 7:30 P.M. at the Town Hall meeting room.
Next Town Board Meeting
The next regular Town Board meeting will be held on Thurs., Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick.