The Pawling Village Board convened on Monday, April 16, for their second monthly meeting at Village Hall. On the evening’s agenda were the Public Hearing for the 2018 – 19 Village Budget, as well as a presentation from a citizens group concerned about emissions from the Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover, and the continued examination of the Village Master Plan.
With regard to the 2018 – 19 fiscal budget, Village officials plan to stay beneath the property tax levy limit, with revenue raised by taxes totaling $1,239,000. This figure also represents an increase in the mill rate of 1.03%. The tax levy will be combined with $307,802 in revenue, and $33,562 in appropriated fund balance giving the Village a total revenue of $1,580,364 for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Public Hearing gave residents an opportunity to voice questions and concerns to Village officials regarding the budget. Those in attendance expressed their insistence that Village officials continue to keep the leftover fund balance at acceptable levels to avoid an unnecessary surplus. Officials clarified the current number of paid employees associated with the Village, which consists of approximately 22 employees, including full-time, part-time, and elected officials. Overall, residents in attendance praised Village officials for their transparency and cooperation in clarifying budgetary matters. The Village Board voted unanimously to approve the 2018 – 19 budget.
Next, the Board heard a presentation from Stop Cricket Valley Energy, a citizens group seeking to raise awareness about potentially hazardous emissions that could result from the construction of the Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) in nearby Dover, NY. CVEC is a natural gas fired, 1,100-megawatt combined-cycle electric generating facility scheduled to begin operation in early 2020. The $1.58 billion dollar project is fully permitted by New York State but has met with opposition from the activist group, which alleges that CVEC will emit large amounts of nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, both of which are precursors to ozone and contribute to the formation of smog, as well as large amounts of soot each year, which has been linked to breathing problems and lung cancer.
Stop Cricket Valley Energy presented their concerns to Village officials, citing the proximity of many area schools to the site of the plant, including Dover High School/Middle School, Wingdale Elementary, and Pawling High School, located eight miles south.
According to the Cricket Valley Energy Center website, CVEC maintains, “the project will not have an adverse impact on air quality and health in the Valley or elsewhere.”
Readers can learn more about CVEC and its environmental review online at CricketValley.com; or Stop Cricket Valley @stopcricketvalley on Facebook.
Finally, the Board continued its ongoing examination and update of the Village Master Plan. Last updated in 1994, the document serves as a guide for the vision for the Village of Pawling with regard to zoning, transit, and appearance. Since the last update to the Master Plan, numerous innovations have been implemented by Village officials, including the addition of the Village Green and gazebo, enhancements to Charles Colman Boulevard, Memorial Avenue, and East Main Street, as well as the addition of a successful farmer’s market.
Moving forward, the Village Board will continue to update the Master Plan with particular attention paid to several future projects. These include further enhancements to the northern portion of the Village Green, a possible second railroad crossing, enhancements to parking, and continued discussions on maximizing the potential of Route 22 as a gateway into the Village. Officials urge residents to attend Village Board meetings to offer their input on the process.
The next Village Board meeting will be held on Monday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. at Village Hall, 9 Memorial Ave.