Board approves 4 percent increase in spending
The Philipstown Town Board this week adopted a $12 million budget for 2023, to be funded by $8.76 million in property taxes; $2.62 million in other revenue; and $677,095 from reserves.
The budget, which has about 4 percent more spending than 2022, sets the tax rates at $2.99 per $1,000 of property value for the villages of Cold Spring and Nelsonville, an increase of about 6.75 percent, and $3.63 per $1,000 for parcels outside the villages, a decrease of about 1 percent.
The rate is lower for properties within Cold Spring and Nelsonville because they also pay village taxes and charges for services such as street maintenance and municipal planning and zoning operations.
After weeks of preparation, including a Nov. 9 public hearing at which no residents offered comments, the five-member board unanimously approved the budget on Wednesday (Nov. 16) in a meeting at Town Hall.
Under the budget, the town will pay $2.73 million for fire protection and ambulance coverage. The Cold Spring Fire Co. will get a 5 percent boost, to $63,104; the North Highlands Fire District will receive $846,076, an increase of 4 percent; and the Continental Village Fire Department will collect $297,000, an increase of 3 percent. The Garrison Volunteer Fire Co. will see a 3 percent reduction, to $767,300.
The Philipstown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Garrison Volunteer Ambulance Corps will each get a 2 percent raise: to $434,451 for the PVAC (including service awards) and $326,481 for the GVAC.
The salaries for Town Board members will remain unchanged from the previous two years: $27,000 for the supervisor and $18,000 each for the other four board members. The two town justices will receive $1,000 increases, to $32,000 each. The pay for Highway Superintendent Adam Hotaling, elected this month, will climb by $3,800 to reach $95,000 and the salary for the town clerk will increase by $1,000 to $64,240.
In addition, the board raised the allocation for attorney services by $10,000, to $70,000 annually.
The budget anticipates a 3 percent increase in general-fund revenue, to $1.4 million. The category covers income from park and recreation fees, the mortgage tax, dog licenses, fines, grants and sundry other items.
The Highway Department budget increased to $3.9 million, a jump of about 11 percent.
Projected outlays include $377,000 for snow removal, up 1 percent, or $5,000.
The budget also anticipates more Highway Department revenue—$589,000, compared to $169,240 in 2022 — largely thanks to an expected $370,000 in state aid for a project along a section of East Mountain Road that extends toward Wiccopee and the Dutchess County border, and a $40,000 boost, to $175,000, from the state’s consolidated highway assistance program.
Route 301 limit
At its Nov. 9 meeting, the board voted unanimously to ask the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph on Route 301 from its intersection with Route 9 to the Nelsonville village line at Jaycox Road, a distance of about four-fifths of a mile.
The slowdown makes sense, Supervisor John Van Tassel said, because “55 mph is high for that section of road,” which runs downhill into the village. However, he observed that the state in the past has denied similar speed-reduction requests for other roads. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.