Serving the Hudson Valley

Local #News: #GreenwoodLake #Fire House Vote; #Warwick #School Board Meeting Highlights

Next Tuesday from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, voters in the Greenwood Lake Fire District will vote on a plan to borrow $5.49 million over 25 years to build a new 11,500 square-foot firehouse to replace the existing firehouse located at 51 Waterstone Road in the Village of Greenwood Lake, which has been in use for 44 years. All residents of the Fire District who were duly registered to vote with the Orange County Board of Elections on or before February 6, 2017 shall be eligible to vote. The proposition reads as follows:

SHALL the bond resolution of Greenwood Lake Joint Fire District, in the Town of Hudson Valley and the Village of Greenwood Lake, Orange County, New York, entitled: “BOND RESOLUTION OF GREENWOOD LAKE JOINT FIRE DISTRICT, IN THE TOWN OF WARWICK AND THE VILLAGE OF GREENWOOD LAKE, ORANGE COUNTY, NEW YORK (THE “FIRE DISTRICT”), ADOPTED JANUARY 12, 2017, AUTHORIZING THECONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FIREHOUSE ON LAND OWNED BY THE FIRE DISTRICT LOCATED ON MOUNTAIN LAKES ROAD IN THE VILLAGE OF GREENWOOD LAKE, NEW YORK, INCLUDING GRADING OR IMPROVEMENT OF THE SITE AND PURCHASE OF THE ORIGINAL FURNISHINGS, EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY AND/OR APPARATUS REQUIRED FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH SAID FIREHOUSE IS TO BE USED (“PROJECT”); STATING THE ESTIMATED MAXIMUM COST THEREOF, INCLUDING PRELIMINARY COSTS AND COSTS INCIDENTAL THERETO, IS $5,850,000; APPROPRIATING $5,490,000 FOR SAID PURPOSE, INCLUDING THE APPROPRIATION OF $140,000 FROM THE “REAL PROPERTY ACQUISITION AND IMPROVEMENT CAPITAL RESERVE FUND”, THE EXPENDITURE OF WHICH IS HEREBY APPROVED AND IS IN ADDITION TO THE $360,000 HERETOFORE APPROPRIATED FROM SAID RESERVE FOR THE PROJECT; AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS IN THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF NOT TO EXCEED $5,350,000 TO FINANCE A PORTION OF THE APPROPRIATION HEREIN AUTHORIZED; STATING THAT THE PLANNING BOARD OF THE VILLAGE OF GREENWOOD LAKE, ACTING AS LEAD AGENCY PURSUANT TO THE NEW YORK STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT, HAS DETERMINED THAT THE PROJECT IS AN UNLISTED ACTION AND A NEGATIVE DECLARATION HAS BEEN ISSUED AND FILED; STATING THAT THE PERIOD OF PROBABLE USEFULNESS OF THE NEW FIREHOUSE IS THIRTY (30) YEARS, AND PROVIDING FOR THE LEVY AND COLLECTION OF TAXES TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF SAID BONDS AND THE INTEREST THEREON AS THE SAME BECOME DUE AND PAYABLE,” BE APPROVED?

The new firehouse would be located at 17 Mountain Lakes Lane. Construction would be slated to start in April and take about a year, and taxes would not be increased. The new firehouse would include four bays, a ready room, offices, and a commercial kitchen, and address two key issues: (i) space to accommodate the district’s six fire vehicles, and (ii) bringing the district into compliance with updated regulations, including ventilation for vehicle exhaust.

Highlights of the presentation by Hudson Valley Valley Superintendent of Schools, Dr. David Leach, during last Monday night’s regular school board meeting include:

  • Hudson Valley High School has the highest Regents average in the region according to data from the New York State Education Department (NYSED)
  • Hudson Valley has the highest graduation rate in the region (97%)
  • Hudson Valley Valley Central School District has been named a “Best Community for Music Education” for four years
  • Sanfordville and Park Avenue Elementary Schools are National Blue Ribbon Schools
  • Hudson Valley Valley High School is the only school district in Orange County to achieve New York State Reward School status for four consecutive years
  • Hudson Valley Valley students scored highest in “Aspirational Level” among the region’s 17 school districts, taking top scores in English Language Arts and math
  • Class sizes remain consistently on the low side, with Kindergarten to 4th grade averaging 21 students and grades 5 and 6 averaging 25 students
  • The NY State Comptroller’s Office gave the school district “a clean bill of health”, as Hudson Valley Valley Central School District is one of only four school districts in the region with no fiscal stress.

The budget for the current school year had the highest approval rate among the public in more than 16 years (74%). Approximately 66% of the annual school budget is funded by taxes, with state aid at 28%, 3.6% from non-tax sources (such as tuition), appropriated fund balance (just under 2%), and the library bond tax of 0.47%. Revenue from non-tax sources increased 21% to approximately $2.6 million, school tax had a 0% increase, and New York State aid increased 8.43%. One of the larger costs in the budget is staff health insurance ($9.5 million out of the current year’s $88.2 million budget – an increase of 4.8% over the previous year).

Superintendent Leach mentioned that the State Legislature advised the school district not to expect a big aid increase this year. The revenue budget for the current school year is $25,125,763, with the projected revenue budget for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year at $25,107,913. The current year’s school tax is $57,970,526, with a projection of $59,186,600 for next year, and non-tax revenue is expected to increase to $3,230,267 from $3,197,102. Projected expenses of $90,162,712 for next year, together with anticipated funding of $89,699,431, leaves a projected shortfall of $463,281 which the school the district will be looking to close while observing the state-mandated 2% tax cap on tax increases.

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