Story by Katie Bisaro
The Board of Trustees passed a resolution at the last Village of Warwick Board meeting on Mon., Mar. 19, addressing the discovery of a miscalculation of health insurance premium contributions.
In 2017 it was discovered that health insurance premium contributions were under-withheld over an 11 year period, between 2005 and 2016, affecting eight Village employees or officers, totaling $55,000. These funds must now be paid back to the Village.
Once the Village became aware of the situation, according to Mayor Michael Newhard, “it was quickly corrected.”
Fiduciary Responsibility to the Taxpayers
In a follow-up phone interview, Deputy Mayor Barry Cheney was asked why the Village could not absorb the cost as it was due to a miscalculation on the Village’s part. He explained that, as a municipality, that scenario was not permitted.
“There is an obligation on the part of the elected officials of the Village that we need to attempt to recover [the funds] because it’s otherwise a gift that employees aren’t entitled to,” Cheney stated. He added that it is part of the “fiduciary responsibility to attempt to recover money that belongs to the taxpayers.”
Two Repayment Options
According to Newhard, the strategy for how to recoup the money from those affected has taken the better part of a year to put together.
Cheney, Village Labor Attorneys from the firm of Keane & Bean, and representatives from the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) have been working to resolve the issue.
The Village recognized that the unexpected reimbursement may cause financial hardship to those involved and a repayment plan was developed as part of the resolution.
Those employees or officers who make their payment within 30 days from the date of the repayment notification will receive a 20% reduction on the total amount owed.
The second option is to make equal monthly installment payments over a five year period. Those who choose this option will receive a 10% reduction in the total amount owed. Additionally, if the employee/officer remains current on the agreed-upon payments, no interest will be charged during the entire repayment period.
“We tried to do our best to come up with a plan that provided repayment options that were fair and applied equally,” Cheney said.
The resolution passed with Trustees Barry Cheney, Bill Lindberg and Eileen Patterson all voting “yes.” Mayor Newhard abstained and Trustee George McManus recused himself from the vote.
Brush Pile Disposal Program Resumes in April
Dept. of Public Works Supervisor Michael Moser announced that the Village Brush Disposal Program will start again in April.
The brush pile, located at the DPW site in Veteran’s Memorial Park, is open to Village residents only. Residents must show a valid picture ID. No commercial operators are permitted.
Brush dropped at the disposal site cannot exceed six inches in diameter. Bagged leaves will be accepted but must be in paper bags only, no plastic. No grass clippings are allowed.
The brush pile will be open on Saturdays and Sundays in April, May and June from 12 noon to 4 p.m. During July, August and September, the brush pile will be open on the first and third weekends of the month from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
In October and November, the brush pile opens up again on all weekends, 12 noon to 4 p.m. with the exception of Applefest when it will be closed.
Howe St. Bridge Update
Trustee Cheney gave an update regarding the Howe St. bridge replacement project.
Construction materials are now on site for the temporary railroad crossing that is to be created while the bridge project is being completed.
The railroad planned to begin the work on the crossing sometime in March once a signed agreement was received from the County. The bridge project is slated for early spring after the detour connection is complete.
The existing Howe St. bridge will be demolished and a new bridge will be erected in its place. The materials have already been procured and are being stored by the county until the project begins.
Planning Board Changes
The position on the Village Planning Board left vacant following the resignation of Planning Board member Ryan Denerley, will be filled by Karl Scheible. Mayor Michael Newhard thanked Denerley for his service to the Village and welcomed Scheible to the Planning Board.
Village Planning Board Alternate Member Raey Webster has also resigned from the Planning Board at the end of his term, effective in April.
The Village Zoning Board of Appeals is seeking a replacement for board member Mathew Blaskovich who is resigning in April, also at the end of his term.
Public Hearing Scheduled for Apr. 2
A Public Hearing has been scheduled for Mon., Apr. 2, 7:30 p.m., prior to the regular Board of Trustees meeting, to solicit public commentary and suggestions with regards to projects to be considered for funding under the Orange County Community Development Program. Past projects under this program include the sidewalk rehabilitation projects throughout the Village.
Adult Kickball League
The Warwick Adult Kickball League has been granted permission to use the T-Ball, Over 35 and Football fields at Veteran’s Memorial Park every Friday from May 11 through July 15, excluding Carnival days. The fields will be used for kickball games on those days from 6:45 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Agreement for Engineering Services
The Village Board authorized Mayor Newhard to enter into a Master Service Agreement with Barton & Loguidice for engineering services on a task assigned basis.
Trustee Barry Cheney clarified that this is a separate agreement from that held with Village Engineers Lehman & Getz and is for specific issues such as water and sewer projects. Village Attorney Stephen Gaba confirmed that the bid process is not necessary for professional services.
Next Village Board Meeting
The next Board meeting will take place on Mon., Apr. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall, located at 77 Main St. in Warwick NY.