Town Board Holds Preliminary Budget Hearing, Discusses Empire Trail

On Wednesday, November 1, the Pawling Town Board assembled for a workshop meeting at Town Hall. The meeting would serve as a Public Hearing for residents to voice their opinions about the Town’s 2018 Proposed Preliminary Budget. In addition, Board members discussed the possible addition of Pawling to the New York State Empire Trail.

The Board opened the floor to those in attendance who wished to comment on the recently released preliminary budget for 2018. The main issue raised by residents was the document’s lack of specifics regarding fund appropriations. The budget shows an increase in the cost of Town employee medical insurance and hospital services, without a specific breakdown of which benefits would be allotted to full- and part-time employees. The same applied to fund appropriations for the Dutcher Golf Course, which is owned by the Town of Pawling, and how revenue from the course impacts estimated costs to the taxpayers.

While some residents in attendance praised the comprehensive nature of the preliminary budget, others called for greater transparency. Some also stated that the document should include a more detailed summary of Town spending on a year-to-year basis to better show comparisons. Residents also sought an explanation of what services the previous year’s fund balance will be used for.

A copy of the Preliminary Pawling Town Budget can be viewed online at

Following the Public Hearing, Board members explained the possibility of an exciting opportunity for Pawling to be a part of the New York State Empire Trail. This statewide project is part of an initiative by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a 750-mile pedestrian and bike pathway. The trail, scheduled to be completed in 2020, will stretch from New York City to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo. Access to the trail will help bolster tourism and economic development by attracting hikers, cyclists, and cross-country skiers throughout New York and New England.

Officials have begun discussions with Metro North and representatives from the Governor’s office to be included in this project via the Beacon Rail Trail. The trail would pass through Brewster, Patterson, Pawling, Beekman, and East Fishkill. The Pawling trailhead would be situated near the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association Building, located at 227 Route 292 in Holmes.

To learn more about the Empire Trail online, visit HudsonGreenway.NY.Gov and click on “Trails & Scenic Byways” in the top menu of the home page.