Mayor’s Message February 2019

Every February in Village Hall our hearts turn to…..the annual budget. This year was no different and I want to give you a quick update on the process. As always, it involves planning how to deliver great services, stay under the tax cap, while keeping taxes at the same level.

All month the Heads of Village Departments, Board Liaisons, the Treasurer and I went through each item in the proposed budget line by line. We also look back at 3 years of budget history, in order to inform us as we plan for the future.

Part of the process is working hard to get funds for Rhinebeck from New York State, which help us keep a balanced budget. One good example is our road paving program that is paid for by NY State CHIPS Funding. We, along with many municipalities, are lobbying the state to increase our annual allotment of funds, which has been the same for years. That way we would be able to keep our program moving forward, and do some needed major repairs as well.

We are also pushing back on the elimination of the New York State Aid and Incentives for Municipalities Program(AIM). The state has proposed a $59 million cut to the AIM program which, if enacted, would take $17,271 in critical resources away from the Village. While the Governor acknowledged the importance of this funding to municipal governments, his 30-day amendments failed to restore the cuts in AIM. Instead, he proposed mandating that counties make the villages and towns whole with county sales tax revenue. We are opposed to this and firmly believe that the responsibility to fund the AIM program lies with the State.

Another variable is our assessed property values from the County for this year. Until we receive this information, we rely on last years figures when calculating the tax levy. We also abide by the New York state tax cap, a dollar amount that holds the allowable budget increase to 2%, which is the same as last year.

The budget plan is to be submitted to the Village Board meeting at our April meeting. That leaves us one month to make final adjustments before the public hearing.

Where are we today?

*We are under the NYS Tax Cap limit by $23,268, We still have a lot of work to do and many decisions on the approach we can take to preserve our tax rate.

*Salaries were calculated with a 2% increase as per the current union contract for all union employees and Village staff. We compare our salaries for equity within our the Village and also other municipalities, and will be giving a additional increases to some.

*We have increased revenues from both our sales tax, and anticipated revenue from interest earned from NYCLASS short-term liquid investments.

*Overall expenses have increased $48,777 in the proposed budget in the area of highway, data processing, and mandated volunteer Firefighter cancer policy.

*Revenues have decreased by $45,356 over the prior year,(including AIM funding).

We have put together a team to make certain that landlords are in compliance of Section 120-17 in our Village Code. It stipulates that a bed-and-breakfast establishment may be allowed in an owner-occupied single family dwelling, and a room rental may be allowed in an owner-occupied single or two family dwelling, only if applicable special permit and site plan approvals have been completed.

The team consists of Pat Coon (Village Clerk), Ryan Dowden (Building/Zoning Clerk), Pat Evans (Resident Volunteer) and John Fenton (Code Official).

This effort uses current law to address our short term rental issues. The team has found that currently we have 30-35 properties in the Village being offered as short term rentals. We have gathered all the STR information, and we will be mailing letters to landlords before March 11, 2019. The notifications will allow a 30 day response time. The first notification will inform the user of the pre-existing code and requirements. It will ask them to start the Planning Board process to make certain that their rentals are in compliance. A second notice will be issued if they don’t respond, which is a violation, to order them to comply within 30 days or legal action may be taken.

We believe this is an important step which will protect village residents, landlords, and renters by making certain that we are aware of all rentals and that the rules are being followed.

The Hudson 7 Intermunicipal Council has now submitted its first joint grant application to the state. The grant is for the “Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2). All 7 towns and villages on the council have signed on, with the Town of Esopus (Supervisor Shannon Harris) as the lead applicant. This is a “no-cost grant” (no out of pocket cost for the community) that will give us resources and tools to be proactive in protecting our drinking water sources.

And, as many of you have noticed, Landsmankill is now home to a very eager beaver, which is doing a lot of damage to the trees lining the waterway. DPW John Fenton is now on the hunt for the elusive beaver which has outsmarted our in-house trapper and continues to operate “under the radar”. The DEC Field Officer has issued us a permit which will allow us to “trap and release” the critter.

Hopefully by now many of you have heard that Rhinebeck is the first ever “ Autism Supportive Community”. Our committee has been working diligently at getting the word out to our local businesses, organizations and groups to do one thing (#1thing) in support of this disability. Already many have signed up! This program received recognition by our County Executive Marcus Molinaro at the State of the County Address.

It is always nice to celebrate our employee accomplishments. Our treasurer Karen McLaughlin has been elected to the 2019 NYClass, New York Cooperative Liquid Assets Security Systems Board.

The following people are celebrating service anniversaries in March

– Water Treatment Plant Operator Justin Drabick 12 years of service

– Waste Water Treatment Plant Chief Operator Brian Baccomo 3 years of service

– Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator Scott Rathjen 3 years of service

– Police Officer Darren Bondar 15 years of service

– Court Clerk Tricia Giacalone 12 years of service

As always, please reach out to me with any questions or comments! You can reach me by phone 845-876-7015 ext 2 at Village Hall or via email to MayorBassett@VillageofRhinebeckny.gov or come to see me during open hours from 1pm to 2pm daily.

Gary Bassett

Mayor Village of Rhinebeck

76 East Market St.

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

845-876-7015