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2023 budget highlights discussed at town meeting

WASHINGTON — The Town of Washington Council Members met on Thursday, Nov. 10, and among the many items discussed were the reappointments of Ron Valente and Steve Curley to the Board of Assessments.

The recommendations. made by Superintendent Gary Ciferri were met with all ayes. Ciferri also asked the Board to accept resignations from Ted Ialongo, Town Park maintenance worker, and Peter Audia, Zoning Board member. Again, all agreed, the motions were made, voted on and passed.

Bookkeeper to the Supervisor Lois Petrone presented some of the highlights of the 2023 budget, which was introduced at the Oct. 3 meeting. She mentioned: the total appropriations are $4,788,081.00, which is $590,906 greater than 2022 appropriations. Total Revenue is $1,487,558.00, or $453,388.00 more than the 2022 revenue.

The fund balance being used to reduce the tax amount is $351,574.00, which is $33,574 more than in 2022.

Total Tax Levy: $2,948,949.00, an increase of $93,944.

Tax rates: Village property: 0.87 in 2023, 00.02 increase over 2022.

Assessed values have decreased in the Village by 1,713,620. In town outside the village: $2.00 per thousand, a 0.03 cent increase over 2022. Assessed values have increased in the town by 16,587,377.

The Fire Tax: 0.51 cents per thousand. 0.02 cent increase over 2022.

Library Tax: 0.15 cents per thousand, 0.01 decrease over 2022.

Other budget items discussed were: Town Hall improvements; replace handicap accessible ramp; roof repair; carpeting in court room. Additional items to the budget: purchase of a drone for use by the Office of the Assessor; $25,000.00 towards a Reval of All Properties within the next several years; addition of a part-time floating clerk to cover other positions when out of the office. Also, additional recreation programs including upgrades to the Park building for senior citizen activities and pre-school program.

Mentioned as well, allocation for a grant writer to pursue funding for initiatives such as bridge and culvert replacement, park and pool improvements, establishing a Natural Resources Inventory and Climate Smart Communities initiatives. Addendum to Comprehensive Plan related to Hospitality and Zoning Amendments to coordinate with Comprehensive Plan Addendum.

Finally, a contract with Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department for increased road patrols within the Town.

Further discussion was initiated concerning the need to find someone suitable for managing the Town Park. Ted Ialongo has resigned his position at the park. While they lauded the crew that worked this summer, they need a supervisor with a lot of flexibility. Also pertaining to the Town Park, there is a need to lock access to the Park at night.

Danielle Scalewicz, Recreation Director, reported on upcoming events, including a candle-making class that is already full, and the annual Gingerbread House event to be held on Friday, Dec.  9 at the Millbrook Fire House, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., including a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and refreshments. Registration can be found on line and is necessary. She said that the annual Trunk or Treating had gone well, with 12  vehicles participating. That event followed the finals of the fall soccer league, another success story for the Recreation Department.

Currently the Recreation Department is open for registration for the Maureen Porell Memorial League basketball, three divisions, grades 1 and 2, grades 3 and 4 and grades, 5 and 6. Guertin Gym, Jan. 7 through March 11, 2023, co-ed. Go to Town web site/recreation to register.

Individual reports by council members followed. The Town is seeking volunteers for the following: the Planning Board, which is responsible for seeing that land use applications adhere to the Town’s zoning regulations. The commitment is for 4 to 6 hours monthly, plus four hours of annual training. They meet on the first Tuesday of the month. Also, the Zoning Board of Appeals, which  hears applications for variances to the town Zoning Code. No experience is needed but a background in engineering, architecture, community planning, environmental studies or construction is helpful. Must be 18 years old and a full- time resident of the Town of Washington. Send resume and cover letter to Town Supervisor Gary CIferri at gciferri@washington.org and include Planning Board in the subject line.

Volunteers also wanted for the Ethics Committee and the Recreation Department.

The next Town Board meeting is on Thursday, Dec. 13, 6:00 p.m., Town Hall or on Zoom. A link can be found on the Town website.

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