Hudson Valley One’s satirical April Fools’ Day article suggesting that future meetings would last “between 20 and 45 seconds” almost seemed to be taken seriously by the New Paltz Town Board at its April 6 meeting, which was over in about 20 minutes once the Board returned from an executive session. Discussion of the agenda items was minimal and voting on resolutions brisk, with no residents present in the room to offer public input.
The most potentially intriguing item on the agenda, “Authorization to send a letter of interest to the County to purchase a parcel, to be used for the public good by means of open space preservation using Community Preservation Fund monies,” was passed without any identification of the mysterious parcel being eyed by the Town, or its location. The Town will “ask Ulster County to take it off the auction list,” according to supervisor Neil Bettez. Properties in default were originally scheduled to be auctioned off by the County later in April, but the tax sale was postponed to an as-yet-unspecified date, and as of presstime no list of parcels up for auction was available on the Ulster County website. Stay tuned for more details.
Two potential changes in local law had public hearings scheduled for the Town Board’s April 20 meeting. One of these is intended to amend Article I, “Residential Collection” of Chapter 114, “Solid Waste,” to “improve the current residential solid waste collection system within the town by adding additional regulations governing the collection system presently operated by an independent contractor following a public bidding process.” The changes in verbiage would prohibit all individuals or business entities who own or lease residential properties from contracting for trash collection with any waste-hauling company other than the single hauler designated by the town. They would, however, be permitted to transport the trash to a landfill themselves. Commercial nonresidential properties would not be regulated by the amended law.
The other new local law under consideration on April 20 is a change in the date for New Paltz’s annual Grievance Day, on which property-owners may come to Town Hall to challenge their annual tax assessment. In the past, Grievance Day for Real Property Assessment Review took place on the fourth Tuesday of May (this year, May 23). But in 2022, New Paltz entered into an agreement with the Town of Esopus to share the services of its assessor, Shannon Harris. Since Harris cannot be in two places at once, Grievance Day in New Paltz will be rescheduled to the first Thursday after the fourth Tuesday of May (May 25), requiring a change to Chapter 137, “Taxation,” of the Town Code. Residents wishing to schedule an appointment with the assessor on Grievance Day should call (845) 255-0103.
In other Town Board news, New Paltz will submit an application to Ulster County for a Municipal Parks and Recreation Grant of up to $2 million toward completion of the controversial bicycle lane project on Henry W. DuBois Drive. The funding would come from the County’s $34.49 million share of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund monies allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act.
A new marked patrol vehicle, replacing a 2017 Ford sedan whose engine seized after 300,000 miles of use, will be purchased using up to $80,000 from the New Paltz Police Department Seized Asset Fund.
Funds were allocated for upgrades to the sprinkler systems in the New Paltz Community Center and Youth Program buildings, deemed necessary in a recent inspection to bring these buildings up to full compliance with the Fire Code.
Finally, details have not yet been ironed out as to how the town can manage to offer requested increases in pay to the Rescue Squad, and discussions will continue, according to Bettez. Meanwhile, the Town Board voted to extend the current contract with the Rescue Squad for an additional three months while terms of the relationship for the long-term future are under review.