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2022 budget adopted, and no marijuana facilities

AMENIA — Starting at 7 p.m. sharp, the Amenia Town Board put its meeting time to excellent use on Thursday, Nov. 18. The board approved resolutions to help shape the town’s future, including adopting its budget for the 2022 fiscal year and a resolution to have Amenia opt out of cannabis lounges and dispensaries.

Save Councilman Damian Gutierrez, Town Board members met in-person at Amenia Town Hall and live-streamed their meeting to the YouTube channel “AmeniaTV,” where the meeting can now be watched at full length.

Block grant public hearing

A public hearing for the town’s 2022 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application to Dutchess County opened shortly after roll call. Town Supervisor Victoria Perotti voiced her interest in working on the ideas the town already has on its plate, but asked Town Board members if they had any other suggestions for next year’s CDBG application.

Councilwoman Vicki Doyle asked whether affordable housing was still on the list of ideas, adding that she’d like to take a harder look at what opportunities might be available. Once the board determined that there was no further discussion, the hearing was closed.

Commercial cannabis

After catching up on the latest town business, committee meetings and upcoming community events, the board turned to a resolution to authorize the adoption of a local law “opting out of the licenses and establishment of cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites within the town of Amenia.”

The board has held a number of public meetings to discuss how the community feels about whether the town should permit the commercial sale of recreational marijuana as well as smoking lounges where the drug used on site.

Public opinion has been mixed on both proposals, as allowing the dispensaries and lounges would bring in tax dollars (to be split with the state and county), but there are fears it could also increase dependency among Amenia youth and other residents, local crime as well as more drug-related traffic accidents and other unintended consequences.   

At the meeting on Nov. 18, the resolution to opt out was adopted without delay.

2022 budget adopted

Focusing on the town’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year, Perotti announced that next year’s budget will be under the 2% tax cap and the 2022 tax rate has been calculated at 1.9518 per $1,000 assessed value.

Including all of the town’s special districts, the total tax levy has been calculated at $1,954,564.

Combining the town’s General and Highway Funds, Amenia’s 2022 budget totals $1,890,244, and Perotti said as of Monday, Nov. 22, that this number is what the town’s taxes will be based on. After the resolution was read aloud, the board unanimously voted to adopt next year’s town budget.

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