Budget talks continue; mayor and trustees to get raises
By Michael Turton
The Cold Spring Village Board moved closer at its meeting on Tuesday (March 12) to finalizing its 2019-20 budget, which must be adopted and submitted to the state by the end of April.
The board can increase the tax levy by up to 2.7 percent, the maximum allowed under a state-imposed cap. The 2018-19 budget included $1,614,643 raised through taxes; the proposed increase for 2019-20 would add about $44,000.
The tax levy supports the general fund, which pays for most day-to-day village operations except water and sewer, which are funded by user fees.
The tallest hurdle facing the board is deciding which capital projects it can afford. The list of potential projects includes Village Hall roof repairs, numerous repairs to the village-owned firehouse, paving Garden Street and Fishkill Avenue, repairs to a collapsing stone wall on Main Street east of Morris Avenue and repair of the stairway from Main Street to Maple Terrace.
Mayor Dave Merandy said he felt the roof repairs and engineering studies for the two paving projects should be priorities. He cautioned that repairs to the Main Street stone wall could be costly.
As it did last year, the board approved a 2 percent pay increase for village employees. Trustees also gave a 5 percent raise to the mayor, trustees and village justice. The mayor’s annual salary, which was last increased in 2012, is $12,662; a 5 percent raise will add $52 a month. Trustees, who last received an increase in 2013, receive $7,221 annually and would earn $30 more a month under the budget.
The tentative budget will be delivered to the village clerk on March 20, followed by a workshop on March 26, and a second workshop, if necessary, on April 2. A public hearing is scheduled for April 9 with adoption expected on April 23.
In other business …
Crew Chief Robert Downey Jr. reported that the Highway Department collected 46 tons of garbage and 16 tons of recyclables in February. During budget discussions Merandy commented that there are “no incentives [for residents] to cut back” on what is put out at the street. “We can’t sustain what we’re doing under the state [budget] cap,” he said, adding that the board needs to consider alternatives. The mayor pointed out that while Royal Carting restricts the amount of material collected, the village does not.
Trustees are reviewing the final draft of the application form and guidelines for special events held at Dockside Park. The proposed fee structure, including $1,200 for weddings, will mirror fees charged for use of Mayor’s Park. Dockside will remain open to the public during private events.
The board approved spending $3,000 to upgrade the Village website at coldspringny.gov.
Officer in Charge Larry Burke reported that the Cold Spring Police Department answered 48 calls in February. Officers also issued 33 traffic and 35 parking tickets and made one arrest, for aggravated assault. Chief Josh DiNardo reported that the Cold Spring Fire Co. responded to 12 calls.
The board is considering a proposal from Lime Energy Co. to install LED lighting at Village Hall and the Highway Department garage. Deputy Mayor Marie Early will research the potential cost savings.
Residents outside the village who are in arrears on water payments will be sent notices of termination of service. Merandy said the unpaid bills total more than $17,000.
Jennifer Zwarich, chair of the Tree Advisory Board, reported that an Arbor Day tree-planting will take place in front of Village Hall at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 26. A tutorial on tree pit gardening will be held in May.
This year’s Independence Day celebration, including fireworks, will be held Saturday, July 6. Volunteers are needed to help finalize and plan the festivities.
Approval was given for the annual Kids Fishing Derby to be held on May 5 at the Fishkill Road reservoir.
The board approved hiring Fred A. Cook Jr. Inc. to perform light cleaning, video inspection and summary report for the E-1 basin sewer main.
The village will lease a new pickup truck for the Highway Department through M&T Bank, which offered the lowest interest rate at 4.46 percent.
The Code Update Committee will hold a public meeting to review Phase Four of the update at 7 p.m. on April 3 at the firehouse.