By Nathan Mayberg
FALLSBURG November 2, 2004 Town of Fallsburg residents may face about an 8 percent tax increase, if the tentative budget remains as is.
Thats according to Deputy Supervisor Arnold Seletsky, who was presiding over the boards meeting Tuesday evening in place of vacationing Supervisor Steven Levine.
The budget also calls for pay raises for nearly all town employees. The town board and town justices are among the few exceptions.
Contractual expenses for the towns auditor would rise $7,500.The town attorney would see a $6,500 pay hike.
The police departments budget would climb over $104,000, including over $110,000 in extra allocations to officers. Over $11,000 would be cut from the equipment line.
Public Safety, a separate department, would see an increase of over $15,000, and the Safety Department would be given an increase of over $10,000.
The town, as is everyone else, is being hammered by skyrocketing health insurance costs across the board.
Snow removal would climb over $37,000. General repairs would jump over $32,000.
Seletsky also attributed the increase in taxes to the hiring of an extra code enforcement officer. A resource officer was added to the Fallsburg school in a partnership between the two boards. A new police officer was hired on Tuesday with the unanimous approval of the town board.
The town board will continue its budget hearings on Tuesday.
Seletsky said the town board had passed minimal tax increases over the last ten years but was playing it safe this time. He expected the tax burden to soften up next year after several of the new developments in the town hit the tax rolls.
Among those new developments in front of the planning board is Pulte Homes, which he said was owned by the largest developer of adult communities in the country. The development will include 440 single-family homes on the property they purchased from the town, across from Morningside Park near Hurleyville. The developers have proposed a shopping strip there as well.
Seletsky added that Pulte Homes would not be a burden on the local schools due to its exclusive designation as a retirement community.
A separate development in front of the planning board would be built across from the Terry Brae Golf Course in South Fallsburg. That is supposed to be fully taxable, he said.
The town councilman called the developments nice proposals we think will shape Fallsburg and bring back the businesses we need.
The town has also been bombarded with such proposed developments as Mountaindale Estates, a 250-260 housing unit development at the old Baxter Stadium in Mountaindale, and a 600-home residential housing development in Woodbourne.
Commercially, Glen Wild Industrial LLC, which is proposing light industry and manufacturing on Glen Wild Road, has met some resistance from several residents who live on the road.
At the most recent town board meeting, some of them expressed their opposition to the plans. One individual said the development should be relegated to an industrial park near the county airport in the Town of Bethel. Another said she understood the need for development and tax revenue but was worried about environmental pollution.
Seletsky responded that the proposals he had seen included packaging and other non-polluting industries.
Several residents have previously complained about trucks speeding on the road and creating a nuisance.
Charlotte Wilson spoke out against a recent move by the town to eliminate a water aerobics class held at the school on Thursdays. However, the Tuesday class still remains.
Wilson said the class had been in existence for 17 years. She said the program pays for itself and was a benefit to the local community. About 26 people use it regularly, she claimed.
Councilmen Joseph Perrello and Seletsky stated that the town was looking for better ways to involve larger segments of the community in swimming programs. However, they said the program may be reinstated.
In other business, the town board approved the appointment of Daniel Hayes for the position of town carpenter at the hourly rate of $15.70.
A motion to approve incentive pay of $8,000 for the 2004 park season to Henry Lesczynski was tabled. Perrello expressed reservations about such a high payout.
After the meeting, Councilman Neil Gilberg expressed his gratitude to Rolling V Bus Corporation for assisting with transportation at several town events, at little or no charge. Gilberg described the company as very community-minded.