The Town of Plattekill unveiled its 2024 tentative budget with a proposed 10.3 percent increase in the tax levy over last year at its October 4 Town Board meeting.
The board set a public hearing for its next regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. October 18 for a local law to override the state-mandated 2.0 percent tax cap in case town officials can’t make substantial cuts to the tentative budget.
A public hearing on the 2024 budget will be held at 7 p.m. on November 8.
The amount to be raised by taxes in the 2024 tentative budget is $4,669,574, which is an increase of $436,091 over last year’s tax levy of $4,233,483.
The biggest increases came in the town highway department (14.1 percent) and the general fund (13.2 percent).
A year ago, the town’s adopted budget included a slight 1.2 percent increase in the tax levy.
“We’ve set up a schedule next week to meet with all the different department heads to go over the budget,” Supervisor Jennifer Salemo said.
After the town board meeting, Salemo told the Southern Ulster Times that she believes cuts will be made to the tentative budget.
“Obviously these meetings with department heads are going to be pretty tough,” she said. “I don’t believe we’re going to move forward with the 10.3 percent increase. There are some certain items we’re just not going to approve.”
In other news, Salemo announced that she had received a letter of resignation from Town Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Scott Mandoske effective October 20.
“There’s an ad out there that we’re looking (for a replacement), but so far no bites,” Salemo said. “Right now, he is working with the staff members that we have available in that department and training them on our computer system.”
In response to an inquiry from former Supervisor Judy Mayle about Ulster County’s desire to locate a solar array at the Hertel Landfill in the town, Councilman Dean DePew Sr. said he hopes that Deputy County Executive Amanda LaValle will appear before the board at one of the next two town board meetings to give an update on the project.
LaValle had appeared before the board on April 19 to discuss why the county wanted to build a solar installation at the 73.9-acre landfill.
“If I’m not mistaken in the last week or so, there’s been some talk in the (county) legislative body of starting the process of actually acquiring that property,” DePew said. “So, that tells me the intent is to move forward with the possibility of a solar farm up there (Hertel Landfill). So, I would like to know what’s going on. The board would like to know what’s going on. But I can assure you Ms. LaValle has offered to come down and she will.”
Salemo read a letter from Town Attorney J. Benjamin Gailey that said it was his opinion that a recent request from a neighboring church for a stop work order for the construction of a house next door at 445 Freetown Highway was not valid.
“Based on my review of relevant documents and information from the building inspector (Mandoske) regarding the house location on the lot, the building permit was issued in compliance with the town zoning code and there is no basis to issue a stop work order,” Gailey said.
Deacon Bob Newkirk of the Pentecostal Holy Joy Church of the Lord at 439 Freetown Highway, who has been speaking out against the ongoing construction of the neighboring house, asked if he could get a copy of Gailey’s letter.
After some discussion, he was told he could submit a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the letter from Town Clerk Donna Hedrick.
The board also said it would introduce a local law on motorized racing on November 15.