Public hearing slated Tuesday on Village of Warwick proposed budget

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    WARWICK - The good news: the increase in the Village of Warwick general tax fund will be a mere 3 percent. The not-so-good news: the sewer fund tax is nearly doubling and a new water fund tax is being implemented in this "difficult" budget year. The proposed budget for 2004-2005 includes $3.9 million in the general fund. This breaks down to a rate of $23.03 per thousand of assessed value. A home valued at $200,000 is assessed at 25 percent of that or $50,000. That homeowner's share of taxes would be $1,151.50. That is $34 more than last year. The big difference this year comes in the sewer fund and the new water fund. These taxes are based only on land value, not the home's assessed value. The sewer fund tax rate is jumping to $8.86 per $1,000 of assessed land value. In addition, the water fund tax adds another $9.85 per $1,000 of assessed land value. A home on 20,000 square feet of land assessed at $11,500 would be $101.89, up from $52.90 last year. The same homeowner will now be paying a water fund tax of $113.28. The sewer fund goes only toward sewer projects; water fund is spent only on water district projects. Residents will have an opportunity to let the board know their feelings on the budget when a public hearing is held on Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall. The village had major sewer and water projects over the past few years, each of them costing over $1 million, including the reservoir dredging project which included a lengthy clean-up of contaminated silt. The South Street sewer replacement project was another costly project. Mayor Michael Newhard said the village decided to take out bond anticipation notes for these projects, hoping to get state aid for them. If the village had converted them to bonds, the debt would have stretched over 20 years and aid could not be applied to the debt. This way, Newhard said, if the village does get aid, there is no penalty in paying it off. "With a BAN, we can pay it off quicker," Newhard said. "If we bonded it, we wouldn't be able to get aid." The village has the option to convert the bond anticipation notes to bonds at any time. If aid is received for the projects, the fund balance would drop, causing the tax rate to drop as well. The village's general fund, although rising only slightly, had large increases in the police budget, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. The hike in contributions to retirement accounts is a result of the stock market fluctuations, board members had said. "This is a very difficult time for all municipalities, from the smallest to the largest," said Newhard. "We all have to deal with these issues."