Woodstock officials have approved a one-month grace period for those who are having a hard time paying water and sewer bills. They will not ask for proof of financial difficulty and will allow the bills to be paid a month late with no penalty.
Those who can afford the bills are encouraged to pay them to ensure the water and sewer districts have enough operating cash flow, rown supervisor Bill McKenna said at the April 21 business meeting held via videoconference. “We can’t just say, Don’t pay it.” McKenna said. “It’s critical we get the payments in, but we would consider a one-month grace period with no penalty.”
The state legislature gave governor Andrew Cuomo power to periodically amend the state budget in response to revenue shortfalls. One of the items facing cuts is the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, or AIM program. Some $30,000 is at stake for Woodstock.
No property has changed hands, so the town has not received mortgage-tax revenue. Building permit fees may be down even when restrictions get lifted. Builders might be hesitant to start projects, McKenna said. With stores closed, sales-tax revenues are down as well.
The supervisor has declared a spending freeze, asking departments to defer big-ticket items. The $2-million Comeau offices renovation is on hold for now. “I don’t see that this year. Maybe we’ll have a bond vote next year,” McKenna said.
“To float a bond right now and take on more debt is crazy,” councilman Lorin Rose added.
“Even when we start to come back, we still have to see how everyone is doing. Everyone has a different situation,” councilwoman Laura Ricci said. “We don’t know how hard people are hit.”