BY MARIA BROWNSELL
Councilman Frank Borelli will not support Clarkstown’s preliminary budget. He made that clear at Clarkstown’s board meeting last Tuesday. He was also very concerned about the possibility of overriding the tax cap.
The setting of a date for two public hearings was on the Clarkstown agenda, with one hearing being to override the tax cap and another being to accept the preliminary budget. Town Attorney Amy Mele explained that both public hearing are set up just in case the town board decides to override the cap but that it doesn’t mean it will be done.
Borelli wanted to make it clear that he does not support overriding the tax cap and he will not approve the preliminary budget. He did support having the public hearings to discuss all the matter.
He told the Rockland County Times, “I stated I was concerned about the preliminary budget and would not vote for it as presented, since it was utilizing a large amount of surplus fund to balance the budget and it had a significant structural deficit. I also stated I would not vote to override the tax cap.”
Tom Nimick of New City asked the board to clarify if the preliminary budget proposes to use any town reserve funds. Gromack said that the current tax cap is 1.56 percent and the current budget is at 1.51, but they do plan on using $500,000 from reserves unless other money comes in. Nimick then asked about where that other money could come from. Gromack said the town is waiting to hear about grants from New York State and a few other sources.
“The biggest issue for people in the Town of Clarkstown is high taxes, but I’ve never seen a decrease in the budget,” said Pat Gotfried of New City. “You have a very unfriendly business structure.”
Gromack went on to list all the ways he believes he is saving the town money, including jobs that have been cut and departments consolidated.
Another way to save the town money that is being considered is the installation of solar panels on government buildings. In the past, the panels were too pricey of an investment, but now as the prices have decreased, it is being looked into once again. Councilwoman Shirley Lasker was very optimistic about getting the panels installed. She said the town is looking into getting estimates from solar companies.
Term limits were brought up by the public, with some for and others against. Mr. Ramone read an article to the board about why term limits should not be created. Richard Senna praised the town board and Gromack for “coming to terms with term limits.”
Frank Grandel inquired about why town employees serving on boards often get stipends when they are already paid by the town and asked if perhaps they should only be paid for meetings they actually show up to. Gromack said that they are currently reviewing the boards and considering a 75 percent rule in order to get paid.
A resolution for de Bruin Engineering to start with phase one at Germond’s pool was approved by the board. The first phase will include liners and drainage, and will keep the pool open for the 2015 season. After the season is over then the rest of the work will continue and the pool will also be open for the 2016 season.