By RICK REMSNYDER
Supervisor John Valk is proud of the fact that the Town of Shawangunk has never gone over the state-mandated 2.0 percent tax cap since it was instituted in 2012. But Valk is fearful that the streak might come to an end next year as the Town Board started its work on the 2023 budget.
The board began discussing the town’s upcoming spending plan at its Sept. 15 meeting. In an interview with the Wallkill Valley Times, Valk didn’t seem very optimistic that the town will be able to stay under the 2.0 tax cap in 2023.
“We’re still up in the air about whether we might have to go over the tax cap or not this year,” Valk said. “We’re hoping not to go over it. It’s going to be difficult with inflation. Health insurance goes up 10 percent. The cost of trucks increases eight percent. Salt goes up 30 percent. It’s incredible.”
Valk believes state officials must look at what drives the costs up so much.
“They keep putting stipulations on to protect labor, but it adds to the cost of government,” he said.
The preliminary budget will be presented to the Town Board at its Oct. 6 meeting.
The amount to be raised by taxes in 2022 was $4,303,787, which was an increase of $131,401 over 2021. But the total was still under the 2.0 percent tax cap.
In other business, the board amended the 284 agreement with Town Highway Superintendent Rich Blazeski to do work on St. Elmo Road rather than Hardenburgh Road.
Valk said the town had to appropriate an additional $20,000 to finish the road.
The town’s contract for a School Resource Officer for the Wallkill School District was approved by a vote of 4-0-1. Board member Alex Danon, who is a teacher in the district, abstained.
The board with deep regret announced that Sgt. David Passineau will retire on Sept. 24. Passineau has been a member of the Town of Shawagunk Police Department for 15 years.
“David has gone above and beyond as a member of our department and for our community,” said Councilman Brian Amthor, who is the town’s liaison to Police Chief Gerald Marlatt. “He will be deeply missed. We wish him all the best in his retirement.”
The board also approved the hiring of Kevin Donahue as a part-time police officer. Donahue has worked several years as a police officer for the Town of Goshen and for the New York State Police.
“Kevin brings a lot of experience to our department and we are excited to have him be a part of the team,” Amthor said. “We are looking forward to what he has to offer our department and what he can bring to the table.”
The board tabled taking any action on Local Law No. 5 – Miscellaneous Zoning Text. Valk said the town was awaiting to hear from its town attorney on the law before finalizing it.