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New York News: Orange County - 2018 Budget; Village of Tuxedo; Schunnemunk State Park Acreage

Orange County lawmakers cast a unanimous vote this month to give final approval to a $752 million budget for 2018 that made only minor changes to the spending proposal County Executive Steve Neuhaus presented them on September 30th. Neuhaus, who was elected to a second term in November, touted the budget and his fiscal record since taking office in 2014 in a press release after the Legislature’s vote. Among other achievements, he said the county had saved $15 million through its early retirement incentive, and pointed out that Orange County surplus has doubled and sales tax revenue has climbed by $9.5 million since 2014. Neuhaus said:

Over the past four years, my administration has worked successfully to stabilize County finances. I look forward to working with the Legislature to help grow Orange County’s economy and budget in a responsible way.”

The budget will raise the county tax levy – the total amount of property taxes collected – by 1.9%, but the county tax rates property owners see on their bills next month actually will drop in more than half of Orange County’s 23 towns and cities, because of the increase in overall property value in the county. A breakdown of tax rates provided after Neuhaus’ budget presentation in
September showed varying decreases in 13 towns and cities, and increases in the other 10.

Village of Tuxedo

The Tuxedo Town Board has advised residents on how to hold a referendum, potentially to form a Village of Tuxedo that would share the same borders as the town excluding the Village of Tuxedo Park. The thought is that a village form of government may be more effective than a town structure at preventing a pipeline from being built through the Town of Tuxedo, similar to the approval powers the neighboring Village of Woodbury has to prevent same. The town’s government and elected leaders would need to ensure that a potential Village of Tuxedo’s functions would not be redundant with with the town’s.

400 Acres Added to Hudson Valley’s Schunnemunk State Park

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the acreage added to Schunnemunk State Park in Orange County was purchased from the Open Space Institute for about $800,000, which will open trails in the park year-round and protect natural habitat. Officials say expanding the park protects the area from over-development and extends the region’s recreational trail network. The park’s 3,300 acres located just west of the New York State Thruway spread across the borders of the towns of Blooming Grove, Cornwall and Woodbury.

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