But aqueduct shutdown may cause water-price spike
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Continental Village residents received some good news Nov. 9: Their percentage of Continental Village Park District costs should decrease in 2017 because the Town of Cortlandt will pick up a larger portion. In addition, the park district budget is expected to fall by 9 percent.
The Continental Village Park District includes parts of Philipstown and Putnam Valley in Putnam County and Cortlandt in Westchester County, Mike Phelan, who oversees the district, spoke at a short meeting preceding a Philipstown Town Board budget hearing.
Phelan said the district’s 2017 budget would be $190,672. Of that total, Philipstown residents who live in the district will pay 69 percent; Cortlandt residents 24 percent (up from 22 percent) and Putnam Valley residents 7 percent. The Philipstown share went down because of the equalization rate designed to equalize taxes when districts cross city and town borders such as this, while Cortlandt went up a couple of points, Phelan said.
Moreover, the 2017 park district budget fell $18,000.
Phelan said the Philipstown decrease reflects complaints at a September Town Board meeting, when residents said they felt their taxes were relatively too high, especially the property taxes they pay to the Lakeland School District. The disparity is due largely to the various ways jurisdictions conduct assessments and attempt to equalize discrepancies. Like the park district, the Lakeland School District includes towns in both Putnam and Westchester.
“It’s always nice to see a reduction,” Councilor Robert Flaherty said after Phelan’s comments.
Councilor Michael Leonard and Supervisor Richard Shea also praised park district infrastructure efforts. Shea highlighted a bridge replacement, including plans to transform the previous bridge into a boat launch, as an example of “the height of efficiency and the whole community pulling together.”
Ralph Bassignani, who manages the Continental Village Water District, said its budget will increase $5,775 to $265,790 but additional revenue should offset the increase. However, he said, due to pending improvements to the New York City aqueduct system, from which Continental Village draws its water, “next year is going to be a bear.” Bassignani told the board that the aqueduct is scheduled to shut down for seven to 17 weeks next year, after being closed for only 10 days this year.
When the aqueduct is not available, Continental Village buys water from Cortlandt. “I’ll be buying water at a huge increase,” Bassignani said.
To help offset it, he said he would seek financial assistance from the aqueduct system, because its repair work will cause Continental Village to pay more for water elsewhere. The Town Board offered to assist with any appeals.