What to expect in 2020

Editor's note: The Warwick Advertiser asked the top elected officials within the Town of Warwick for their assessment on what the new year will bring for their communities and constituencies. Here's what they reported:

31 Dec 2019 | 01:25

Mike Sweeton

Supervisor, Town of Warwick

Q. What do you expect during 2020 in terms of growth and/or development? Are there local projects on the horizon? Improvements to infrastructure? New businesses?

A. In terms of residential growth Warwick will remain somewhat stable. Our farm preservation program has protected close to 4,500 acres which equates to about 1,500 single family homes that won’t be built in Warwick.

With the improved economy some dormant, approved subdivisions are starting to build a few homes but these are generally 20-30 lot subdivisions so no large impact.

The exciting part I think is the build out of the former Mid-Orange facility which will come into its own in 2020. The Hudson sports complex will continue to evolve, the Drowned lands Brewery opening, a renovation of a building for a professional service firm, the opening of urbanXtracts CBD extraction facility, opening of one of the first NYS approved testing laboratory for CBD, Kaycha Labs, and of course completion of Citiva, one of the ten medical marijuana companies. All of this brings jobs and tax revenues to our town.

We will also continue our leadership in energy innovation with battery storage projects that capture the electricity generated by among other things solar farms that can then be used in non-generation periods.

We will also purchase our street lights, convert them to LED bulbs and save electricity costs while reducing our carbon footprint.

Q. What will be the most important and/or critical issue (or problem) you and the residents of your community will face in the new year? What can you do about it?

A. Our most pressing issue will be how do we continue to provide services and yet live within the ability of taxpayers to fund those services, especially when NYS continues to shift costs to local governments.

Infrastructure and public safety remain as the two biggest areas of concern. The town has more than 200 miles or 400 lane miles of roads and with the costs of repaving running about $120,000/mile the challenge is evident.

Policing the largest town in Orange County presents its own challenges and, while our department does an exceptional job, it gets more difficult each year especially with the sweeping criminal justice reforms enacted in 2019 by Albany legislators who attempted to correct issues more prevalent in NYC without much thought for upstate residents.

Addressing these problems will take good fiscal management and strategic use of the resources we have to get the best bang for the tax buck. Directing assets to the most critical infrastructure is key, working jointly with our Villages to share costs where it makes sense and deploying our resources intelligently will ensure we have a successful 2020.

Jesse Dwyer

Mayor, Village of Greenwood Lake

Q. What do you expect during 2020 in terms of growth and/or development? Are there local projects on the horizon? Improvements to infrastructure? New businesses?

A. Although I expect 2020 to be another great year for the Village, it will not be without challenges. This past year, the Village saw tremendous upgrades in infrastructure and local projects. We partnered with Orange & Rockland to convert all the streetlights on Windermere Avenue to LED. In 2020 we are continuing the project toward ultimately converting 100% of our streetlights to LED. This will save Village residents and taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars annually. In addition, we negotiated a deal with Orange & Rockland to repave thousands of linear feet of roadway throughout the village in 2020 at no cost to the taxpayer. In 2020 we plan on paving nearly ten streets in the village using real asphalt (not the old tar and chip method!). 2019 paving projects allowed us to fix countless drainage issues throughout the village, something we will continue in 2020. Exciting development is occurring on the 17A corridor coming into the village. An old bungalow property was converted into classy high-end rental homes. In addition, whether you agree with Dunkin Donuts or not, they invested over one million dollars into this corridor. We also saw a food truck park and there are plans for continuing development of this critical entryway into the village for the next year.

B. What will be the most important and/or critical issue (or problem) you and the residents of your community will face in the new year? What can you do about it?

A. The most important and vital task performed by the Village Board is to manage and deliver safe, clean and affordable drinking water to the consumers of the water district. The challenges with doing this are too numerous to list. However, I can say this – our water system is in dire need of major improvements. Over the past 7 years of our current administration we improved our water system to ensure we are complying with the laws of New York State. 2020 will be time to draw up the long-term investment plan for the water system and start securing grants to offset the costs of upgrading the system. Last year, the village set aside funds to hire an engineering firm specifically tasked with developing the necessary long-term plan and cost models to ensure our water treatment system is prepared for the future. After going out to bid for the engineer, I expect one to be retained by the end of January 2020. Once the firm is selected, they will immediately go to work outlining the priority list of projects, costs, and assist in finding grants to pay for the work. The public will be kept in the loop every step of the way because ultimately, we are in this together, and we will solve our problems together.

Michael Newhard

Mayor, Village of Warwick

Q. What do you expect during 2020 in terms of growth and/or development? Are there local projects on the horizon? Improvements to infrastructure? New businesses?

A. Improvements to infrastructure?

• Infrastructure projects remain the primary focus for the Village.

• The most costly and involved is the renovation and enlargement of our wastewater treatment plant. The Village has received three-million dollars in Environmental Facilities Funding. The project has begun with an ultraviolet purification system and will continue to full redevelopment through 2021.

• On other fronts, the Village continues to improve its water system including water treatment and distribution. The Village recently received a significant NY State Grant to protect its watershed.

• The Village has many paving, sidewalk, and park projects slatted for 2020.

• In 2020, there is an anticipation for development projects to commence including the Kennedy Apartments on Forester Ave. At this time Village View and the final phase of Warwick Meadows are before the Planning Board.

New businesses

• The real estate market for the Village remains very strong due to its walkability, historic neighborhoods, and proximity to services. This strength includes commercial viability with the recent sale of the Chase Bank and Warwick Bookstore building.

Q. What will be the most important and/or critical issue (or problem) you and the residents of your community will face in the new year? What can you do about it?

A. One of the most important issues that faces the Village is the pressures of growth within its boundaries and the importance that it be done so that it is a positive addition to the overall community.

• This year we will be forming a Comprehensive Master Plan Committee to work with a consultant to re-examine this very important planning document. The intent is to carefully examine the Village’s growth, economic development, affordability, sustainability, and cultural and recreational amenities.

Editor's note: The Warwick Advertiser failed to contact Village of Florida Mayor Daniel Harter Jr. for this report. The newspaper will follow up next week.