Decreasing Debt in Clarkstown – Is it Possible?

BY MARIA BROWNSELL

“We need to retire more debt than we acquire,” said Councilman Frank Borelli at Clarkstown’s Town Board Workshop meeting on Tuesday. This year’s debt is increasing by $3 million; with $14 million being borrowed and only $11 million being retired.

A review of the five-year Capital Plan was discussed during the meeting. Board members agreed that the numbers need to be modified, but don’t know where to make cuts in the budget. Borelli said there needs to be a set number not to go over each year. Supevisor Alexander Gromack asked if anyone wants to eliminate something. He said we go over this again and again, but nobody makes suggestions of what to get rid of.

“The whole point of the Capital Plan is setting priorities, budget, and schedule,” said Councilman George Hoehmann. “Whatever we are retiring, we shouldn’t bond more than that. I’d like to see numbers going down in the next four years. I’d like us to commit to bond less than we are retiring.”

Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner agreed to commit to numbers (barring emergency). She played with the numbers over the next four years of what can be bonded vs. what is being retired. The amount being retired is as follows: 2015 – $11.917 million; 2016 – $11.74 million; 2017 – $11.625 million; 2018 – $11.625 million. The numbers that the board agreed to shoot for ended with a bonded amount of $10 million in 2017 and $9 million in 2018. Forty-six million dollars worth of debt will be paid off over the next five years and about $40 million new debt will be bonded, with a debt reduction of about $6 million over those years. Hoehmann believes this will have a significant effect on the budget.

Hausner and the other board members agreed that they cannot fully commit to a capital plan yet, as the Parks and Recreation Department is giving a presentation in September about their capital budget. Within this presentation will be information about the requests the Little Leagues have made for bathrooms and other improvements. Over $115,000 worth of requests are being reviewed. Options about what to do about Germond’s pool, with its piping problems, ripped liner, and other issues will also be presented.

The board agreed that the Parks and Recreation Department needs to purchase the new trucks they are requesting. One dump truck and three pick up trucks are no longer usable. The department is going to try to either replace these with three trucks totaling about $115,000 or two trucks for about $80,000.

The purchase of extra street lamps for the Hamlet Centers was authorized by the board. Four need to be purchased for Congers, two spares for Nanuet and four spares for Valley Cottage, totaling $82,500. As for the requests by the Little Leagues, that will wait for the special presentation by Parks and Recreation in September.

The board opened a special town board meeting at the end of the workshop in order to go into executive session to discuss a personnel issue relation to pending re-allocation requests. This would change the grade of a particular position.