Also: Auditor’s report says Stony Point is in decent financial shape
BY CHERYL SLAVIN
The Town of Stony Point is continuing to move forward on the removal of irreparable waterfront structures damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
At this week’s board meeting the board passed nine separate resolutions, one for each structure identified by building inspector Bill Sheehan, to contact the property owners and require them to repair or remove the damaged homes. The board also set a May 13 date for a public hearing to afford the homeowners an opportunity to be heard on the matter.
The owners will have at least until June 6 to comply, after which the town would be authorized to demolish the structures itself and charge the costs to the homeowner. However, Town Counsel Brian Nugent noted that the town can choose to wait to take action as each individual situation required. Finn also noted that the Town is still in the process of trying to obtain FEMA money to cover the removals, which are necessary for health and safety reasons, and that the Board understands the difficulties the owners have already been facing.
The auditing firm of O’Connor Davies presented its annual audit of The Town of Stony Point’s finances at the Board meeting Tuesday night. Overall, the auditor declared that the town was in very good financial condition, with surpluses in both the General Fund and the Highway Fund at the end of 2013.
Dominic Consolo, the auditor, focused his presentation on the General Fund and the Highway Fund. The town actually spent less money and took in more revenue than projected in 2013, with a significant surplus in funds thanks primarily to the sale in 2013 of the police station cell tower lease for $1.5 million. The one-time infusion from the cell phone deal, however, eliminates for the next 40 years an annual revenue source of about $100,000.
On the whole, the town came in with a surplus of $1,564,000. Without the cellphone revenue, the town would have still been under budget by $64,000. Currently the General Fund contains about $4,945,000 of which $3,728,000 is unburdened by any designation. There was also a surplus of about $65,000 in the Highway Fund.
Councilman Jim White stated that it was great to hear that the town was in such good financial health, and the entire board praised Finance Director Jennifer Sciscente for doing a great job.
North Rockland sophomore Matthew Hill, a Boy Scout with Troop 61 out of Immaculate Conception School, gave a presentation about his proposed Eagle Scout project to improve the area around the Berlin Wall monument situated in front of the Stony Point Courthouse. Currently, the segment of the Wall is simply bordered by railroad ties and mulch. Matthew intends to replace the ties and mulch with pavers, and install a walkway to the street paved with inscribed bricks. He will also plant new shrubbery and install at least two granite benches. He intends to sell the bricks, inscribed with the names of first responders and veterans, for $60 a piece to finance the project.
The board warmly thanked him for initiating the project as many on the board and in the audience voiced an interest in buying a brick. There will be an order form on the town website to purchase the bricks, or interested parties can contact Matthew through his troop.
Susan Filgueras, president of the Stony Point Historical Society and member of the Town’s New York State Community Rising Committee, presented an 8 minute video the committee put together on the damage Stony Point sustained from Hurricane Sandy and the plans it has to “build back stronger.”
Members of the committee, along with the Town Supervisor, will be in Albany on Wednesday to present its application, including the video, for the Community Rising Reconstruction funds. One of the scenes in the video included a portion of a damaged bulkhead in Clark Park, repairs for which the Board later discussed at the meeting. The Town engineer is currently in the process of getting general estimates not only for immediate repairs needed, but for improvements to the structure overall. In the meantime, the damaged portion is dangerous and remains fenced off.
In his Supervisor’s report, Finn briefly addressed the Article 78 proceeding currently being brought against the Town by a Town employee. He did not give many details, stating only that the entire board is looking to resolve the situation as expeditiously as possible.