Story by Katie Bisaro
The Village of Warwick Board of Trustees adopted the budget on Tues., May 1 for the fiscal year beginning Jun. 1, staying under the two percent tax levy limit as mandated by the State of New York.
Originally, a public hearing was scheduled prior to the tentative budget hearing to consider a law that would allow the Village to go above the two percent cap. That public hearing did not take place and the Trustees went straight to the public hearing to consider the tentative budget.
Village Accountant, Michael Vernieri, gave a synopsis of the budget, explaining that the new budget reflects a shift in “monies that were normally taxed in the General Fund [to] being taxed in the Sewer and Water Land Tax.”
In the past, the Sewer and Water Land Tax has been used for water projects such as the microfiltration plant, and dam and reservoir improvements.
Looking forward, the Village has begun the work to build a new sewer plant. For 2018-19, there are plans in the budget to spend money for an ultra-violet (UV) filter and odor controls as well as engineering and preparation for the new plant.
In his remarks during the public hearing, Mayor Michael Newhard expanded on the plans for the sewer plant. He noted that the current plant was built in 1972, upgraded in 1992 and after almost 50 years of uninterrupted operation is showing signs of “intense wear and tear.”
To that end, the Village has begun the preparation, groundwork and engineering for a new sewer plant. At the same time, according to Newhard, the Village is also defining an “economic strategy” that may include short- and long-term loans and grants through the Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC), which provides financial and technical assistance to municipalities.
Newhard commented that he and the Board will keep the public informed as to the progress on one of the Village’s “most expensive and largest planned infrastructure projects.”
“The Village Board is dedicated to finding the best and most cost-effective solution for a plant that is efficient, environmentally safe – removing the immediate challenge and creating an infrastructure for Warwick’s future,” Newhard stated.
Other budget highlights feature security upgrades, equipment purchases, building projects, paving projects, and various necessary repairs throughout the Village.
New doors on the second floor and a security entryway into the Village Clerk’s office are among the security projects taking place at Village Hall along with three new security cameras for the front door, conference room and fire escape.
A new salt barn will be built at the Central Garage that will hold a larger volume of salt at one time. In this way, the DPW will take larger deliveries of salt at one time and it may eliminate the need for additional deliveries or having to borrow from the Town.
The 2018-19 budget also includes new equipment for the Village Dept. of Public Works: a new sweeper, new loader, one new DPW pickup truck and a new bucket truck. The new bucket truck will be purchased through a $75,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).
West St. (from Pond Hill Ave. to Main St.) is slated to be paved in the coming year. Other paving projects include Welling Ave., Campbell Rd., Park Ln., and Elm St. The sidewalks on High St. will be repaired through a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant. The sidewalks on Country Ln. will also be repaired following drainage work.
In the Village parks, several projects and repairs are planned. The Village will be installing a new parking lot near the football field in Veterans Memorial Park (funded through a DASNY grant). Repairs will be made to the skate park and new pavers will be installed at Stanley-Deming Park.
Water & Sewer Fund Projects
Water Fund project highlights include construction at Well #3 at a cost of $1.4 million; water line repairs along River St., Campbell Rd., Barbara Dr. and Pioneer Farms; meter maintenance, new hydrants and hydrant repairs.
Sewer fund projects include repairs to the Robin Brae and Orchard St. pump stations; sewer plant repairs and engineering projects related to the new sewer plant project.
Tax Levy Rates
For property owners, the tax levy rates are $28.65 per thousand for the General Fund; $7.61 per thousand for the Water Land Tax; and $24.39 per thousand for the Sewer Land Tax. The total tax levy to be covered through real estate taxes is just under $3.4 million.
Annual Salaries: Mayor, Trustees
The annual salaries for the Mayor and Trustees were also announced: $43,841.83 for the Mayor; $7,960.87 for the Deputy Mayor; and $7,314.03 for each Trustee.
Mayor Newhard thanked Vernieri, Village Treasurer Cathy Richards and all department heads for their input and work during the budget process.
“It’s an incredible job of organization and detail,” Newhard said, “and we can’t thank you enough for gathering that information and making it presentable to us so we can make [these] vital decisions.”