BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
STONY POINT- 2016 Town budget squeaked by with a 3-2 vote on Tuesday at RHO Building with Supervisor Geoffrey Finn placing the deciding vote to pass his final budget as Stony Point Town Supervisor. Councilmen Jim White and Tom Basile voted against the budget.
The final 2016 budget by Supervisor Finn included the following amendments; a reinstatement a position/title of $109,638, the employee may not retire in 2016, an insurance savings of $168,000 by changing present town insurance to Travelers Insurance, and an addition of $60,000 tax levy from TZ Bridge Constructors on the former Lovett’s power plant site.
“It’s a fair budget, it’s under the cap,” Finn said of the 2016 Town budget.
Before the budget passed, the town council 5-0 voted to bond a $2,500 dollar ice machine, $27,000 for a new 4×4 truck for the building inspector, and $34,000 for a fully equipped police vehicle.
Finn also announced at a special meeting held on Oct. 30 the Town settled with U.S. Gypsum for 75,000 dollars of taxpayer money to be paid over a 3-year term. Finn explained, “Gypsum was looking for ballpark of half a million dollars…this is big win for the town…this is pennies on the dollar.” Finn continued to say this avoided further ligation, lawyer and court fees, all of which would have been major money losses for the Town.
During the public hearing portion of the meeting Tom Blauvelt, President of Stony Point Ambulance Corp pled unsuccessfully to have Town Council raise their allotted money of $20,000 for the coming year. Supervisor Finn pulled out their tax form from the prior year and sited a loss of $78,000 from their apartment building. The Town Council publically admonished the Ambulance Corp for not making fiscally responsible decisions and said the non-profit Ambulance Corp had close to half a million dollars in cash to operate their business. Town Council said they would help the non-profit ambulance service increase revenues in other ways, but since this year’s audit the council is not willing to give more taxpayer dollars to the non-profit.
Former Town Engineer Kevin Maher was the only other person to speak during the public hearing portion. Maher publically questioned how much engineering work 65,000 dollars was going to buy for the town in 2016. Finn shot back that it was an hourly position that saved the town money by not paying sick days, vacation, or a pension.
Maher’s position of Town Engineer was abruptly abolished without severance in January 2015. The town said it was a cost saving move to have an engineering team with more experience focus on the new gasification plant. Maher was involved with a 2014 Supreme Court case with his neighbors over a tree dispute, using his town official status, since he rented the house next door.
Cablevision has been sold to French company Altice and Stony Point approved Altice to do business their township. The Dolan Family sold all rights to the cable company for $17.7 billion in Sept. 2015.
A public hearing on Red Ridge Development was moved to December 8.
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