New Paltz Town Board members heard a report on the 80-plus-page external audit of the 2021 books at their June 2 meeting, which shows just how hard it is to make predictions about what’s going to happen during an unforeseen pandemic. Mortgage and sales tax revenues surged well above what was expected, as did building permit fees. At the same time, health insurance costs dropped considerably.
Despite warnings that there is not enough money to pave roads this year issued by Chris Marx, the highway superintendent, the audit shows that highway expenditures last year were $102,000 short of what was budgeted. The highway fund for town roads as of December 31 had $747,309 in it, making a fund balance that’s about 38% of the 2022 budget. Fund balances are how unplanned expenses are covered the following year, and the appropriate level is at the discretion of town officials.
Water and sewer district funds are accounted for separately from the general tax fund. Three of the current town water districts are in the black, meaning that some big repairs could be absorbed without borrowing and raising water rates to cover the cost. Districts one and two had $350,000 and $118,000 respectively, but the third district very little cushion; it was only recently in deficit. District four remains at a deficit, and while that’s being reduced, it’s challenging because it essentially only includes the gas station by the Thruway. The toll booths and related buildings are included, but with tolls now automated these are not getting much use. The abandoned diner and now-demolished motel behind it were also in this district.
Comptroller Jean Gallucci urged, “Get something in the Genesis,” referring to the diner once located next to the gas station.