Village of Washingtonville Work Session, July 17
By Edie Johnson
At this week's Village of Washingtonville'Work Session Mayor Tom Devinko told residents that the $4M State Bond they had requested was passed by both the Senate and Assembly and is sitting on Goveror Kathy Hochul's desk ready to be signed. In record time, he said, Senator James Skoufis and Assemblyman Brian Maher had scripted the text, and immediately following Devinko deliveted it to Albany himself.
Next on the good news list, he thanked County Executive, Steve Neuhaus for offering the Village a $4,999 grant to cover the cost of their spectacular Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza, "Food, Fire and Fun Festival" . The first in a series being planned and carried out by the new Event Committee it was a huge success with over 2,000 attendees. Yet another grant was obtained and given by Legislator Kathy Stegenga" for $4,999 to fix the crossing lights at Taft Elementary School and ensure the children's safety.
Next, the Village's efforts to get some help from the State Comptroller's office to decipher theVillage's financial records which had apparently been in serious disarray, are about to be tackled by an auditor from Tom DiNapoli's Office. Every day of delving into the books is a new adventure for Tom Devinko who described hundreds of thousands of dollars woth of grant moneys that were dumped into the General Fund, and no record of what happened to the monies. For example, Devinco said that earlier in the week he found a $25,000 check, apparently not given to the vendor it was written to. Further, bills that there was apparently not enough money to pay were held over and deducted from this year's budget. Then there are the final payments for construction of the VIllage Hall. I asked "Will they now have extra funds since the monthly payments are about to be done?" Devinko had previously said his understanding was that there were only about 2 months of payments left. "Can you have a "Mortgage Party" next month since the monthly payments have been significant. Devinko says unfortunately he found that there were Highway Department payments that were added to the building's bond payment, so they have not yet been able to figure out whether either or both have remaining payments, this again due to not separating files properly within the general fund Not only is all of the comingling and lack of correct process by the Village's Treasurer and Board (which were simply left out), improper, some of it may be illegal. That will be examined during the Comptroller's detailed audit.
Yet another significant boost to Village's fund balance may come from Reiger Homes. The Village has a Parks Fund that requires developers to pay $1,000 for every new home they build. With the Reiger brothers having recently finished 79 new homes, that money has either already paid (without proper documentation) or the balance may paid pending return to Reiger of the bond allocated for any necessary road work.
Lastly, one more possible windfall may come in the form of what the State is calling Consolidated Smart Growth Millenium Funding. Applications are due to the state by July 28th and the funds, if approved could be used for things like the payments to the Village's Planner who is now working with a committee to revise their Comprehensive Plan. The Millenium Awared recipients will be announced in November.
The State Bond at $4M if and when the Governor signs it (and she is expected to sooner than later), plus the almost $1M in new grands and likely $79,000 from Reiger Developers bode well for a better financial picture in the Village.
In other business, Mayor Devinko said the design phase and plans for Sewell Park are in the works and are expected to be completed by September.