The Maybrook Village Board held a public hearing and set a public hearing at its recent meeting; the public hearing concerned a sewer tax rate increase and the coming hearing will be for the latest Community Development Block Grant.
The board also approved an agreement with Village Engineer Sean Hoffman for no more than $24,000 (grant funding) for a planning study of the wastewater treatment plant.
A sewer tax increase passed unanimously, with sparse public comment centering on the need for a permanent increase. By state law, both water and sewer revenues must equal expenses. The water budget is balanced. A recent audit revealed the sewer budget is short on revenues, compared to expenses, mandating an increase in the sewer tax rate. Mayor Dennis Leahy said the rates will be reviewed again next year, before a budget is adopted, to see if projected expenditures and revenues match.
So while the water tax rate stays at $4.15 per 1,000 gallons, the sewer tax rate will increase to $5 per 1,000 gallons for residential customers. Mayor Leahy said the average yearly usage by residential customers is approximately 25,000 gallons, bringing the annual sewer charge from $103.75 to $125, an annual increase of $21.25.
Rates for businesses and outside-the-village customers will also increase. The business rate moves from $4.57 to $6 while the outside-the-village rate goes from $4.89 to $6.50.
Neither water nor sewer rates have increased since 2013. Village officials attribute the expenditure increases since then to increases in cost of supplies, cost of utilities and employee contract increases.
The new sewer rates take effect April 1.
A public hearing for the latest Community Development Block Grant will be held in 7 p.m., Mon., Mar. 9. The block grant is a flexible federal program administered by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to give grants to communities to address a wide range of community development needs. Orange County administers the program locally with yearly grants awarded to municipalities who meet certain criteria.
The village plans to apply for a block grant to continue its sewer re-lining project. Once that project is completed, said Mayor Leahy, the village will again apply for annual grants to replace its sidewalks.
As for the wastewater treatment plant, the village received a grant of up to $24,000 from the N.Y.S. Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and N.Y.S. Environmental Facilities Corp (EFC) to fund a planning study for a water quality infrastructure project made necessary by new requirements for the state license the village has to operate the plant.
While the village had hoped to hire the original designer of the plant (Bipin Gandhi) because he knows it and its operation so well, that was not possible due to his nearing retirement. So the village voted unanimously to hire the current Village Engineer, Sean Hoffman.