Story by Lourice Angie
A budget hearing and presentation was held by the Warwick Town Board before the start of their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thurs., Nov 1. Since reviewing the budget, the Board is focused on public safety and infrastructures.
The Town Board has worked diligently in collaboration with Town department heads since late August, to collect their requests and create a tentative budget. Since then, the Board has carefully reviewed and determined what is affordable and where the necessary funding is needed.
The 2019 tax cap amount for the Town is $286,298. The Board worked to cut approximately one million dollars from what was proposed in the tentative budget. The NYS mandated health insurance and retirement contribution for 2019 saw a mandatory increase of $302,988 and $251,967, which is almost twice the cap amount. Even with the Boards best efforts to grow non-property tax revenue, this increase pushes the Town over the cap. The Board then focused on public safety and infrastructure investments to ensure that citizen obligations were met.
All department expenses were kept even with the following exceptions. The Board has budgeted to hire two police officers in 2019 and to purchase two police vehicles that can provide the necessary safety to our citizens. Additionally, $100,000 was budgeted for road work, $50,000 to upgrade the fueling system, which also supplies fuel for the Village of Warwick as well as some of the fire and ambulance services.
This budget, with these essential investments and mandated State contributions, places the Town of Warwick 1.4% over the tax cap. As presented, the budget reflects an increase of about $16.50 per the average house assessed at $50,000 in one of the Villages and $51.00 per average house in the Town.
Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton says a lot of what goes in to the A Fund – paid by every resident isn’t a huge number – of that 1.8 million dollars it only makes up 35.63% of the actual budget which is only 2.50% over the previous year and comes to $44,952 of a dollar difference.
“I would like to thank the department heads and employees who do a great job in keeping most of their budgets flat year after year while continuing to provide more service work for constituents, we appreciate that,” said Sweeton.
A copy of the preliminary budget is available for viewing at the Town Clerk’s Office and will soon be available on the Town website at: www.townofwarwick.org.
2019 Special District Budget
Following the preliminary budget hearing and presentation, a public hearing on the 2019 Special District Budget was held. Supervisor Sweeton explained that the Special District Budget is generally paid by residents who reside and benefit from the District.
The Recycling District is made of up the largest. Both the Village and Town of Warwick are in the Recycling District – those residents get taxed for recycling pick-up. The Board expects only a slight increase in this area. There was no increases in the water and sewer districts. There was one adjustment to the Kings Lighting District with a slight increase in electric charges. The Town Ambulance Corps have all submitted and maintained their budgets.
“They do a great service as volunteers. The estimated cost of paying for this service through paid companies would increase the cost by 15% to 20%. We very fortunate to have very active ambulance corps in our Town, and we thank them for submitting their budgets,” said Sweeton.
The Board will continue looking into better rates and working with residents in water districts to help phase any increases to them to make them comparable to adjustments in Greenwood Lake.
Town Clerk Eileen Astorino reported that the fees collected for the month of Oct. were $13,663.79 and the fees paid out were $8,813.79.
Successful Halloween Parade
The Board commended the work of the Warwick Police Department and the Volunteer Fire Departments during the Annual Halloween Costume Parade held on Wed., Oct. 31.
“There was a huge crowd in the Village of Warwick, which was amazing. You guys kept it all under control, even the horses that were running around. I’m glad that everyone was safe,” said Sweeton.
Veterans Day Parade
The Warwick Valley VFW Post 4662 will sponsor a Veterans Day Parade in the Village of Warwick on Sun., Nov. 11. Line- up will begin at 10 a.m. at the Village Hall on Main St., and progress to Veterans Memorial Park on Forester Ave. Following the Parade a tent party will be held at Lewis Park on Main St. with food and beverages for all.
A bouncy castle will also be available for children. WWI and Vietnam memorabilia exhibits commemorating the 100th Anniversary of WWI and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War will also be open to the public at the Old School Baptist Meeting House and Buckbee Center.
“This will be a much bigger event because it’s been 100 years since WWI ended. It’s good to come out and a great way to show your support to our veterans,” said Sweeton.
Humane Society Seeking Transportation Volunteers
The Warwick Valley Humane Society is seeking volunteers to help transport animals in their own vehicles for an on-call basis to and from veterinary hospitals, including injured wildlife. If anyone is interested call the shelter at 986-2473.
Next Town Board Meeting
The next Town Board meeting will be held on Thurs., Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Warwick Town Hall, located at 132 Kings Hwy. in Warwick NY.