Village board passes budget

Warwick. Trustees remind residents that sidewalk maintenance is their responsibility.

| 16 Apr 2024 | 03:17

The Warwick Village Board has adopted the village budget for the upcoming fiscal year. During the April 15 village board meeting, Mayor Michael Newhard provided an overview of the budget, highlighting some of the investments the village is making in pedestrian safety, records management, and water and sewer infrastructure.

The total tax levy was set at $4,354,234. Appropriations for the general fund for the fiscal year (from June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025) are estimated to be $6,686,177, plus $6,893,698 for the water fund, and $1,493,375 for the sewer fund. Total revenue is estimated at $11,171,710.

The mayor thanked everyone who worked on the budget, noting that economic circumstances made it difficult to keep it within tax limits.

“I’m very pleased we could remain within the 2% cap this year. It was definitely a challenge,” said Newhard. “It is challenging not just for us but also for communities throughout New York State because the cost of purchasing things and inflation has made things very, very expensive, especially when it comes to infrastructure projects.”

During the discussion of the budget, Trustee Carly Foster celebrated the participation of local students in the process. She shared how first and second graders from Sanfordville met with town and village officials to share their observations. Foster was pleased that the village board was already working on some of their suggestions.

Other business

Although not a budget-related matter, the board listened to the concerns of Deborah Wittels, who addressed the conditions of the roads. Wittels, who also spoke at the Warwick Town Board meeting, asked, “What can be done? The roads are atrocious.”

In response, Mayor Newhard offered similar guidance as Warwick Town Supervisor Jesse Dwyer, saying that the roads in question were state-owned and urged residents to reach out to state legislators.

During the meeting, the village board sought input on what projects to request funding for via the Orange County Community Development Block Grant Program for the 2025 fiscal year. Mayor Newhard proposed the idea of applying for funding that would continue the village’s efforts to improve local sidewalks.

The discussion on the state of the sidewalks and possible grant funding prompted Trustee Foster to remind the public that sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of adjacent property owners and that there is no dedicated revenue source for the village to take care of these issues. She called on the board to revisit the question of enforcing property owners to maintain their sidewalks.

“My concern is that there is a perception that it is the village’s responsibility to be replacing these sidewalks and not on the property owner,” said Foster.

The village board approved the 2024 summer concert schedule. However, members of the board expressed their displeasure at the planning process. Trustee Mary Collura shared her worries about the impact of the concerts on local restaurants as well as the conflict with the Greenwood Lake concert series. She also suggested surveying concert attendees to be better informed when planning next year.

Trustee Foster shared that the village board did not have the opportunity to improve the schedule before contracts and how this was something the board insisted on to avoid some of the issues addressed by Trustee Collura.

During the meeting, a member of the public asked about whether the Mount Alverno facility would be used for migrant housing. Newhard responded by saying that he had not heard of that happening and that the facility owners intend to use it for medical purposes. He explained that the property is still owned by Westchester Medical Center Health Network and is part of the overall campus that includes St. Anthony’s hospital.