Cold Spring Faces a Budget Squeeze

Seastreak contract, schedule finalized

Barely into the second quarter of the 2023-24 fiscal year, the Village of Cold Spring finds itself in a budget squeeze because of lower-than-anticipated revenue.

In her financial summary at the Wednesday (Sept. 13) meeting of the Village Board, Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo said anticipated expenses in the general fund, which covers most village operations, exceed projected revenues by $43,000.

The shortfall is mainly due to revenue that hasn’t materialized because of delays in adding metered parking to Main Street and implementing a new occupancy tax on hotel rooms and short-term rentals, Ascolillo said. Both revenue streams were projected to begin by Sept. 1 but are behind schedule.

Mayor Kathleen Foley said public hearings on an expanded residential parking program were scheduled but delayed because Gov. Kathy Hochul has not yet signed the program’s enabling legislation. [Update: She signed it on Sept. 15.] The expanded program will provide parking permits to residents in the upper village east of the previously approved 11 streets east of the Metro-North railroad tracks. Metered parking along Main Street will not be implemented until the new residential parking is in place, Foley said.

“We want to make sure residents have a place to park once the meters go in,” Foley said. “We anticipate the meters will drive (visitors) to side streets.”

Hochul has signed the legislation that allows Cold Spring to collect an occupancy tax but the Village Board must still pass a local law, Foley said.

“The big takeaway here is we need to get through the public hearing on parking, get the meters in and get the occupancy tax up,” Foley said. “But right now, we’re tight.”

Ascolillo said the village has benefited from favorable interest rates, the sale of village property and parking waivers and reduced expenses in such areas as health insurance, credit-card fees and parking enforcement staff wages.

“We’ve been down this road before, but never [with] a deficit in the first quarter,” said Jeff Vidakovich, the village clerk and treasurer. “You can’t project the first quarter out over the rest of year because different things happen seasonally.”

He added that, in addition to new revenue, the village needs to examine how it can spend less, including in areas such as legal and engineering fees.

Foley said the village is stretched “as thin as we can be” in operations, noting that serious repairs are needed, including a $38,000 project at the foot of Main Street.

“We need to have some serious conversations about infrastructure prioritization,” the mayor said, adding this is a time when the village needs engineering expertise.


Seastreak will pay the village $38,940 in docking fees for its fall weekend cruises as part of the contract that the board approved on Sept. 13. The village will receive 50 percent of the per-cruise fee in the event of cancellations.

The first of 19 sailings will arrive on Sept. 30, with the last docking on Nov. 12. The schedule includes Saturdays and Sundays, each Friday in October, and Oct. 9, which is Columbus Day.

One cruise each weekend will drop passengers at Cold Spring, then dock at Bear Mountain State Park to avoid having scenic views from the village dock blocked over weekends. A maximum of 400 passengers will be aboard each cruise.

In other business …

■ The mayor issued proclamations thanking Matt Coleman, Edie Coleman, Andrea Corless, Maria Jones and Rebeca Ramirez, who assisted a person experiencing cardiac problems until first responders arrived. The incident took place on Main Street during Community Day on Sept. 2.

■ The Cold Spring Police Department responded to 68 calls for service in August. Officers issued 10 traffic and 111 parking tickets. No arrests were made.

■ The Cold Spring Fire Co. answered 18 calls in August, including four activated fire alarms, two motor vehicle accidents and a potential structure fire as well as 11 calls for mutual aid from other companies.

■ The Recreation Commission is considering a dog park in the northwest corner of Mayor’s Park and a butterfly garden at Tots Park, as well as an Eagle Scout project that would add small picnic tables with chessboards. New lights are being ordered for the village dock to replace fixtures that were vandalized.

■ Village residents can now dispose of electronic waste free at the Town of Philipstown Recycling Center on Lane Gate Road.

■ During the public comment period, a man addressed the board, claiming his rights had been violated by a Cold Spring police officer. He declined to give his name but is Leonard Filipowski, who has a YouTube channel in which he identifies himself as an investigative reporter who covers police brutality. In August, he copied The Current on a complaint he filed with the village against two officers, alleging he had been mistreated when issued a traffic ticket and during his appearance in traffic court. The mayor responded that the village would investigate. On Wednesday, Filipowski was argumentative, interrupting the mayor after the three-minute comment period had expired. When Foley asked him to leave, he declined and was escorted out by a police officer. Filipowski, with a videographer, also made an appearance on Main Street during Community Day on Sept. 2.

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