Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio said the Town of Newburgh is heading into 2021 focusing on highlights including purchasing the Desmond Estate, supporting the police department and thinking of alternative ways to fund local school districts.
Back in the summer of 2020, the Desmond Estate faced an uncertain future until the Town of Newburgh was able to secure a $1 million grant from the William and Elaine Kaplan Family Foundation to purchase the historic property from Mount Saint Mary College.
“This $1,000,000 in grants will help ensure that the Desmond Estate continues to provide essential adult enrichment classes and activities,” Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio said in a letter announcing the approval.
After completing land surveys and inspections of the grounds, they were able to sign a purchase contract in late December for the estate.
“I cannot thank Mr. William Kaplan, Ms. Joan Kaplan, and the Kaplan Family Foundation enough for supporting this endeavor and all prior projects that improve the quality of life in our community,” said Piaquadio back in September.
The town plans to uphold the same community programs at the estate, including senior programs.
“Hopefully we are going to start up with what they had there before with senior education classes,” said Piaquadio. “We will be doing that I hope in the spring, but it depends on the virus.”
“We will balance between taxes and services so the taxpayers get what they pay for,” said Piaquadio.
The Town of Newburgh’s proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year was $43.4 billion, which was a two percent increase from last year. However, the Town was able to sustain all of its employees’ jobs and received a 0 out of 100 on its fiscal stress monitoring system scale.
Additionally, Piaquadio said the town will “continue to put its police department [at the forefront].”
“I think safety is paramount to any town,” said Piaqauadio.
They are currently reviewing police procedures and policies as a part of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, which mandates each municipality to have a reform plan by the spring of 2021.
Piaquadio also highlighted how he and his board will find “alternative ways to fund schools, rather than school taxes being on the property owner.”
“We’ve been pushing the governor to go with a sales tax or income tax or another alternative way to relieve some of the pressure on the property tax owner to fund those schools,” said Piaquadio.