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Washingtonville Makes Big Strides On Village's Financial Challenges, Says "More Are Coming" (VIDEOS)

Updated: Oct 6, 2023


Mayor Tom Devinko announces acceptance of the Village's $4.4 M loan application


The Village of Washingtonville Board held its October 2 meeting on Monday, going through a full agenda of items that included the news that a $4.4M 10-year Deficit Bond they applied for through the State for has been accepted by the lender. This will be a lifesaving measure for the Village to make sure it can cover outstanding debts they walked into when they took office, along with missing money that had come in and, at best was improperly accounted for, at least some of it going into the Village's General Fund rather than by proper line item, as well as money spent without board approval, and money spent last year that was supposed to be for this year's budget. The Trustees have all vowed not to spend a penny of the loan other than for what is absolutely necessary. Meanwhile they are putting the loan money into a state-backed high interest earnings investment fund. This will knock down the 7.25% interest that comes with the loan by 5.25% so that any unspent monies are functionally at a really good interest rate of 2.5%. ALL of the interest earned will be used to offset the cost to Village residents. Because quarterly reports were not filed to the State in recent years they are required to do so especially diligently, and a state auditor has been present to help sort out the missing reports from recent years.


Village Treasurer announces terms of the loan



Village invests the loan money at 5.25% inteest which will be used to offset the high loan interest rate that was due to poor credit rating and unsubmitted reports. Proper handling of this loan will restore the Village's credit rating.


Nevertheless, some residents are concerned about the over $300 cost the loan will add to their taxes, unless the Village finds more income to offset it. The Village has worked hard for several really significant new income sources. However, they are mostly dedicated grants that have to be spent in a particular way. For instance, there is $85,000 coming in from Rieger Homes' new development's Parkland Fees, at least some of which is going toward finishing Pickleball Courts that the public has requested. It must all be spent on parks per code on housing developments. Next there are several hundred thousand dollars of chips monies in addition to other grant dollars coming in for road repairs including $194,485.00 for Secord Lane and Emerson Drive. And there is a grant that must be spent on Downtown Revitilization which will include new lighting. There is also a check that just came in for a street sweeper. The street sweeper has already been paid for, and as a result that $250,000 becomes available. And thee is the $5,000 given at the meeting by Legislator Kathy Stegenga for repair of safety lighting at Taft Elementary School. To attend a board meeting, you would think by the end of the meeting that board members spend every spare moment looking for and filling out grant applications, and perhaps they do. Board members pointed out that especially when there are grants available to pay for them, projects that the community wants are important too, given that the feeling of community is why so many of the residents live here.


Several residents voiced concern that whether by grant or not there is spending and they want to hear more about cuts to keep taxes down and not up, such as an increase in the sewage system charge that is necessary for the new sewer system negotiated several years ago for $13M. which still has $9M due, and required reent maintenance including a new generator, along with bills due that had not been paid. This resulted in a raise of the quarterly Sewer System Facilities Use bills of residents from $37.57 to $58.00.


Resident

"When will we hear about cuts that can be made to reduce taxes?"


Mayor Tom Devinko said "At budget time. We are doing everything we can to be transparent about the process. Wait until budget time. That is when we will be looking for and deciding the places where costs can be cut."


The Board added that the budget meetings will all be open and they are eager to hear any recommendations the public has about how to keep taxes down.


In Other News


Public Assembly Permits were approved for Witchingtonville (at Vern Allen Park 11am- 2:30pm) and Witchingtonville After Dark (at the Veterans Memorial Park 29 West Main Street from 6-10pm)



Pickleball Courts - If the weather cooperates Mayor Devinko said they will probably come in to pave and put the fencing up for the courts in the coming week. If paving can't be completed when frosts have begun it will be finished the first thing in Spring.


Orange County DMV will again be at the Village on October 19 from 10-12 and from 1 to 3:30 for everything but written tests.


Village Historian The illage is still looking to fill this important and interesting position. They have determined that it would be acceptable for a Town resident to fill the spot if no Villager applies. There is also an open seat on the Ethics Committee.





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