The next Village of New Paltz budget, covering the fiscal year starting June 1, will include raises for all staff but no increase in taxes, according to Mayor Tim Rogers. The mayor gave a broad overview at the March 8 meeting, ahead of a public.
Rogers noted that while this budget provides for spending $160,000 out of the fund balance — money left over from the prior year, which is used for unanticipated and emergency spending — it’s not expected to be needed. If it’s not, the general fund balance could end up being $711,000, about 25% of the total, which is at the high end of where the mayor and treasurer want it to be. The state’s comptroller does not mandate a specific cap for municipal fund balances, as the circumstances can vary widely from place to place.
In praising the work of Nancy Branco, the clerk-treasurer, as well as the trustees, Rogers noted that this result did not require the use of federal money received through the American Rescue Plan act, nor was it necessary to hire a consultant to determine how to deploy those funds. The mayor made an oblique reference to municipal budgets that do use those federal funds, yet still include a five percent tax increase, saying that “it’s quite frightening.” Rogers did not name any particular municipality, although the figures did appear to match those from 2023 New Paltz town budget.
The intended use for the federal relief money is to refurbish lower Hasbrouck Park, which has somewhat dilapidated pickleball and basketball courts.
The Village has scheduled a public hearing on its tentative on Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at the village hall. At the public hearing, any person may be heard.
The meeting will be live streamed on YouTube via the Village of New Paltz channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwFFe8fJSmBzh10DPOy0btQ. Viewers may submit comments through the chat function monitored throughout the meeting, they can speak during the public hearing or comment period in the Zoom video conference through a link to join the meeting posted on the Village of New Paltz website by using the “raise hand” function in Zoom to indicate they wish to speak. Or they can submit comments in writing to email@example.com prior to the meeting.
It’s proposed that the mayor be paid $60,255, the deputy mayor $9000 and the trustees $8000 each.
Handicapped citizens or senior citizens who require assistance should contact the village clerk at 845-255-0130.
Snort safety and other services
Project Rescue, operated out of Ellenville Regional Hospital, is a service providing not only substance use treatment and recovery resources, but also a variety of options for reducing harm from the use of drugs both prescribed and otherwise. Harm reduction is an approach that is an alternative to the prison-focused “war on drugs” that was launched under President Richard Nixon, one that tries to minimize the damage done not only to individual users, but members of their families and the wider community.
New Paltz Deputy Mayor Alex Wojcik regularly provides information at village meetings about items that are available through the project. These include fentanyl test strips, to minimize the rising number of fatal overdoses caused by this substance being introduced into a variety of street drugs; pill lockers, to prevent medications from being stolen from prescribed users; and snort kits and other safe-use kits that are intended to reduce the spread of diseases including HIV and hepatitis C.
Wojcik said at the March 8 board meeting that sending a text message of “erhrescue” to the number 2100 would result in a response from a staff member for the project, which is funded through the state’s office of addiction services and supports.
There will be some changes to the New Paltz Village Board come January. Michele Zipp will not be running for another term, and William Wheeler Murray may duck out early, should a bid to take the legislative seat being vacated by Eve Walter is successful. Three seats will be up for grabs this November, the first partisan election in village history. If Murray does abdicate in favor of a position in Kingston, a replacement will be appointed to keep that seat warm until voters can exercise their franchise again the following November.
Other than Zipp’s, the seats that will be on the voting block are presently occupied by Tim Rogers and Alex Wojcik, both of whom are intending to run again.
Skating plans rolling along
The skating area that Village of New Paltz officials hope eventually to install in Hasbrouck Park now has some clear design elements, as provided by the folks at Hudson Valley Trail Works. Three different areas, that can be constructed separately, are included: a pump track, a bowl, and a flat area. Pump tracks are circuits that are intended to be navigated by “pumping” up and down to generate momentum. A bowl is a somewhat self-explanatory, with skaters beginning on the edge of a concave surface and using gravity to generate momentum for tricks. Many other skateboarding tricks, involving flipping or otherwise manipulating the board, are best accomplished on a flat surface.
Funds for this facility will come from the fees collected from developers who are unable to provide recreational facilities to support their projects.
The single-hauler laws of New Paltz are coming up on the test of contractual renewal. When the laws were first passed, a five-year contract was given to County Waste for residential trash collection throughout the town. That was possible because town and village officials issued a joint request for proposals. Village trustees are planning on starting on the next contract at their March 22 meeting, and Mayor Tim Rogers believes that town council members will be independently working on a similar process, but as joint meetings have been suspended, they will not be working around the same table.