Story by Katie Bisaro
The Village of Warwick Board of Trustees, working with a state-mandated two percent tax levy limit in the face of rising budget costs, is finding it difficult to stay under that cap. To that end, the Board has proposed a new local law overriding the tax levy limit.
A public hearing will be held on Tues., May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall to consider the matter. It should be noted that this day is a rescheduled date from the regular Board meeting usually held on the first Mon. of the month.
At the regular Board meeting, held on Mon., Apr. 16, the Mayor and the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution introducing the law to override the tax levy. During Privilege of the Floor, resident Joe Lawler commented that overriding the tax levy would “open the door” to raising taxes for Village residents.
Difficult to Stay Within Tax Levy Limit
Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard said that the Village has been adhering to the tax levy limit law for the past several years but that this year “we’ve got some really major issues [to address].”
“Trying to do a budget under two percent over the past six years has greatly affected us. Luckily we haven’t lost anything in terms of services we are committed to give Village residents. But there is a time when infrastructure starts falling apart and sadly, in New York State there are very few avenues that will support [municipalities] in that respect,” Newhard said.
Public Hearing Regarding Tentative Budget
The public hearing on the tentative budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year will also be held on Tues., May 1.
Resolution Adopted Asking to Rescind CPV Permits
Several area residents from Warwick and the surrounding area spoke to the Village Board of Trustees requesting support for a resolution on the agenda regarding the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power generation plant located in Orange County. The resolution calls for the permits issued to CPV be revoked in light of the conviction on Mar. 13, 2018 of Joseph Percoco on charges of solicitation and acceptance of bribes from two companies doing business in New York State, including CPV. Percoco was an executive deputy secretary to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
According to Scott Martens, of Minisink, NY, similar resolutions have been passed by the Village of Goshen, the Town Wawayanda where the CPV is located, as well as the Orange County Legislature. He called on the Village of Warwick to “join forces to right a monumental wrong.”
Pramilla Malick, an environmental activist from the Minisink and Westtown area, described some of the health issues that have been reported since the CPV plant opened earlier this year. Complaints have included nausea, headaches, burning sensations in eyes and throats, and nasal congestion. She described the emissions from the plant as a “toxic assault.”
With the bribery conviction, the resolution points out the possibility that state permits were issued as a result of bribes or “other illegal payments of compensation” and “disturbs the public’s confidence in its government and, therefore, must be investigated and prevented or punished.”
The resolution urges the New York State Senate, State Assembly and the Governor to enact legislation that would invalidate any permits “which were issued on a project in which direct criminal conduct by public officials occurred.” Additionally, the resolution calls for the proposed new legislation to be applied retroactively and thus to the CPV project in Orange County.
“These resolutions are a voice of the people and the question before you today is, will you listen?” asked Martens prior the Board vote on the resolution.
The Mayor and Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the resolution to the applause of those present at the meeting.
The Village Clerk is directed to send a certified copy of the resolution to the Governor, Speaker of the State Assembly, State Senate Majority Leader, as well as all Senators and Assembly Members whose legislative districts are in Orange County. A copy will also be sent to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, and the Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Village & Historical Society Exchange Services
The Board of Trustees authorized Mayor Newhard to sign an agreement between the Village of Warwick and the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick regarding lawn mowing services and the use of Historical Society properties. Through this agreement, the Village of Warwick will mow the grounds of Lewis Park and the Old School Baptist Meeting House.
In exchange, the Historical Society maintains several structures and other open spaces. The Historical Society also provides regular programs for students of the Warwick Valley Central School District, maintains an archive of historical material on the Village and Town, and hosts events available to Village residents.
Additionally, the Historical Society assists with several Village-sponsored public events such as the recent Sesquicentennial celebration. The Village hosts its annual Christmas Eve caroling service at the Old School Baptist Meeting House as well as placing the Village’s Creche and Menorah in Lewis Park.
New Village of Warwick Historian
Ivy Jordan Tulin has been appointed to the position of Village of Warwick Historian.
Village Summer Concert Series
The Board of Trustees approved the dates for over 20 summer concerts to be held on the Railroad Green. The first concert will be held on Sat., May 19. Many popular performers will be returning this summer, including the New York Wind Symphony, Uncle Shoehorn, the Free Shrimp Band, the New York Swing Exchange, Frank Vignola, Emish, Some Guys and a Broad, and many more. The series will conclude on Sat., Sept. 15.
National Day of Prayer Event
Grace Community Church will host a National Day of Prayer event on Thurs., May 3 from 1 to 9:30 p.m. on the Railroad Green in the Village.
Howe St. Bridge to Close On or About Apr. 23
Trustee Barry Cheney reported that while the Howe St. Bridge is receiving repairs there is a temporary detour to connect Orchard St. and River St. will open. Notices were sent out to residents in the area affected by the bridge closure and detour. It is anticipated that the bridge will reopen in approximately three months.
According to Cheney, the detour will go from Orchard St., past the pump station, right onto Hamilton Ave., left onto Campbell Rd. and out to Oakland Ave. Once the work on the bridge is completed and the bridge is reopened, the detour will be closed.
Work Session to Discuss Splash Pad
Trustee Bill Lindberg reported that a work session will be held to discuss a proposed “splash pad” for Stanley-Deming Park as part of the upgrades planned for the playground there. The work session will take place on Mon., Apr. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.
Warrior Camp Informational Meeting
Mayor Newhard reported that an event will be held by Trauma and Resiliency Resources, Inc., regarding Warrior Camp, a program held at the Warwick Conference Center. The camp is held in collaboration with the Warwick VFW Post #4662, the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Warwick Fire Department.
An informational meeting will be held on Thurs., Apr. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Raymond Hose Company, located at 200 West St. in Warwick. The camp is held to aid veterans who are struggling with issues as they return to civilian life, even many years after the fact.
“This [the camp] is a very unusual program that actually uses our valley to its greatest possibilities,” Newhard said. He noted that some of the local horse farms are used as part of the program and training.
Next Village Board Meeting
The next Village Board meeting will be held on Tues., May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick NY. Please note the change in date.