The December 30 Warwick Town Board meeting concluded 2022 by honoring holiday display king Vincent Poloniak, addressing short-term rental issues and spreading the word about the town’s Friendly Visitor Program.
Michael Sweeton, town supervisor, opened the meeting with recognition of Vincent Poloniak, a long-time resident widely known for his Christmas light displays and many other contributions to the community.
“Many of you may know that when Vince was with community development, he did a lot to upgrade the facilities for our farm workers in Orange County, and especially here in the town of Warwick. He served in the Florida fire department, the Lions; he’s a veteran, a PLAV, and there isn’t much in Warwick that Vince hasn’t touched,” said Sweeton.
“But one of the things that I think we all know about is his wonderful Christmas light display, and for 50 years, Vince has been religiously going out there and creating this magnificent display at his home. And he shared it with our community for all those years, and it’s just an amazing thing.”
Feeling that the work is “beyond him and his helpers,” Poloniak will retired his light display after 2022. As a thanks for his efforts, the board congratulated him and gave him a plaque.
“I hadn’t realized everyone would miss my lights so much, and I’ll miss doing them. Thank you very much,” said Poloniak. “I think that was my main purpose of doing them, to see the expression on the kids’ faces when they walked up and down that driveway.”
Following Poloniak, the board called upon its short-term rental committee, a newly formed group that addresses short-term rental issues, such as homeowners operating without a permit or disrupting their neighborhoods.
“Our main objective, first and foremost, is to get a handle on registered versus unregistered,” said Lisa Mulcahy, a member of the committee. “Within our committee, we’ve had a wealth of resources, mainly AirDNA, a paid analytical service that allows you to see everything that’s listed with Airbnb and Vrbo.”
For the past two weeks, the group researched and collected data on all registered and unregistered homes in the area. At the meeting they presented a map of their findings, showing that 16 rental homes in the town and 24 in Greenwood Lake were unregistered. Mulcahy proposed that the board reach out to owners.
“Now that we have all the unregistered ones, you can get the notifications out. I would expect that after the notifications go out, there’s going to be a bit of a flood of people submitting,” Mulcahy said. “So what we’d like to do on a committee level is put together the best practices, so when those people do come in, they’ll have some kind of help.”
She suggested that the board host informational sessions to help rental homeowners understand how to operate responsibly and create an online system for rental-related documents and complaints.
“What we would like to do on a community level is assist the Airbnb owners in making sure they understand everything they should need,” she added.
Friendly Visitor Program
Later in the meeting, town councilman Floyd DeAngelo announced that the Friendly Visitor Program, a local volunteer group that provides services to elders and residents with disabilities, will host training sessions for those interested in joining.
“For the Friendly Visitor Program, they’re having volunteer training dates, Thursday 1/5 at 10 a.m. and 1/17 at 5:30 p.m. If you want to volunteer, you can call 845-986-1124, extension 400 and leave a message,” DeAngelo said.
Additionally, the town clerk’s offices will be giving out magnets with the program’s contact information.
“So if you need a magnet, if you feel like you want a magnet, or if you know someone who should have a magnet, you can go to the clerk’s office,” said DeAngelo.