2017-11-08 / Front Page

Middletown Preliminary Budget reviewed

Budget is under the spending cap
By Eddie Donoghue

The Middletown Town Board met last week Wednesday, Nov. 1 for the final time before Election Day.

Among the topics discussed were a pair of resolutions, one in support of New York State funding for the Belleayre Unit Management Plan, and another in support of the East Branch Enhanced Recreational Access Plan. Also heard was an ongoing proposal for a DEC purchase of Tom Davis’ land in Arkville.

The meeting began with a public comment segment which saw questions about budget issues. The first question dealt with was whether the recent 2 per cent increase for Middletown employees had any other increases that went along with it, to which Supervisor Patrick Davis answered, “You get a little more in retirement because of your increase in salary.”

The next question was about considering hourly versus annual rates for deputy clerks of the Town and the Highway Department bookkeeper.

“It’s a thought that’s passed through us and we took some steps to figure out the answers to it,” said Davis, explaining how the board had just recently requested the information that would allow them to compare the two methods.

The final question was what would the tax increase be, currently 1.86 percent, if the $75,000 allotted for the “unexpended balance” was left out, to which it was quickly answered that it would be around 6 percent.

Tom Davis made the big presentation of the night, having been in talks to sell his 51 acres in Arkville, to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, since 2013.

Much of the matter boils down to bad timing—the State not having the funds until recently, and the Town Board, only this June, banning any such sales. To circumvent this problem, the board asked him to present why his situation was exceptional, requiring him to meet and address four criterion: the soil issue, access to the property, slope of the properly, and hardship incurred by the owner.

Coming well prepared with a tableful of maps, Mr. Davis impressed the board, meeting all the requirements. Citing the limited soil, specifically on the norther face of the mountain, the intense, 30-40% slops, and the unlikeliness of Mr. Davis selling the land due to difficulties in being able to develop it, the board carried the motion, calling it “a clear-cut case.”

Belleayre support

The first resolution heard was in support of State funding for Belleayre. Supervisor Davis was a part of a recent meeting with Governor Cuomo’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Brendan Hughes, on behalf of the Coalition to Save Belleayre where they submitted a request for $30 million funding for Belleayre. “We made our case,” Davis said, going on to explain the money would be used for, “…maintenance, upkeep, expansion, renovation.”

Board member, Jake Rosa, agreed with Davis, saying, “I think it’s a great thing, Belleayre is very important to the economic development of the area, and we need to make sure it’s state of the art—I’m totally in favor of begging the governor to put the $30 million in the budget for us.” The resolution passed.

Recreation plans

The second resolution, the East Branch Enhanced Recreational Access Plan, which was submitted last year, also passed. The plan centers around establishing a 33-acre Nature Preserve in Arkville on land owned by the Water Discovery Center. It would include a new stop along the DURR Train Ride which would allow passengers to get off and enjoy the preserve and its hiking trails. The pre- serve will serve multiple aims, both as a place of recreation and education for residents, students, and visitors.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2017-11-08 digital edition