At Monday night's regular Village Board Meeting (August 7), discussions included several items of important progress. Top among those was the news that the Village's efforts to get a bond, in case the newly elected board faces a deficit, has made a lot of progress. They have 2 current bond offers, one for $4.5M and the other for $1.5M and have vowed not to use any more of the total $6M than absolutely necessary, but are confident now that the Village's business for this year can proceed without financial distress. Neither are finalized quite yet as they are attempting to negotiate a lower rate than the 7% interest rate they have been offered, but the important thing is that fears that they will be in a position of not being to pay bills this year are greatly allayed, and meanwhile they are making every effort at belt tightening and developing a detailed procuremen policy that will prevent this type of situation from happening again. The bond, paid over time, will not have a big impact on village taxes. This situation arose when payment of last year's bills was taken from the budget that was intended for 2023, in addition to $2.6 m checks written with no resolution, no votes or participation from other officials.. Mayor DeVinko said, “People need to answer for this." Meanwhile, he said they should have resolution on getting the bond very soon. When attendees asked whether there are plans for prosecution to the greatest extent for the "mismanagement", and whether there there is a potential for criminal prosecution, Village Attorney, Brian Nugent said "At this time, I don't see evidence of criminality, but that will be up to the State to determine. For now it's clear that ther was plenty of negligence." State auditors are currently reviewing all the books daily and will return findings to the State Attorney General if and when appropriate.
The Board then voted to repeal and replace the Village's procurement policy so that going forward every penny spent will be accounted for.
Next on the agenda was a vote to end the $75 registration for for use of the Dog Park.
The Village is advertising for a Village Historian. Every municipality in New York is required to have an official Historian. Generally it is done out of a love for local history and it is a volunteered rather than a paid position.
Plans are being made for numerous events during the coming Fall and Winter months, and the Village's Event Committee will again be reviewing and developing those and other plans on Thursday evening, August 10. As of now the list includes a Community Day, Holiday Market, Yard Sale On Sept. 9 and 10, and of course Witchingtonville.
Mayor DeVinko said he is seeking $100,000 for downtown beautification lights. This is a grant that was already in an early stage of attainment and is still likely to be available through Senator James Skoufis' office. The current plan wou ld be to add solar powered units that simulate the old-fashioned gas lighting of villages like Washingtonville. The grant was offered in 2022 and put "on hold" due to other pressing matters, but the Village has a 60-day extension to put it in action.
Lastly, the Village will be purchasing a new generator for the water and sewer plants. Since 2018 there was a generator being rented at what the board felt was an outrageous waste of over $5,000 per month. It is not suitable for operation with changes being made, and by purhasing one at $5,000 per month, they said it will pay for itself quickly.
A Livestream of this meeting is or will shortly be available on the Village website.