Among other issues in the beleaguered and ever-growing village of Airmont, the cost to haul trash / bulk items weekly appears to be costing homeowners more than they bargained for.
When Airmont chose Rockland Green to provide hauling services beginning February, 2022, Village attorney Scott Ugell advised residents they would see a significant savings on their village tax bill. On Monday evening’s Zoom meeting, he advised residents who inquired about the cost that they’d be seeing a $1 decrease. “We did experience a savings—the prices didn’t go up,” said the village attorney. No mention was made of how the village would handle the carting/garbage services for the growing number of parcels that have come off the tax rolls in the Town of Ramapo’s once rural/suburban residential village. The Board had advised at an earlier meeting that the village would continue to provide the carting service to those own the non-taxable parcels. Amy Picaroni, a 50-year resident of the village, saw her county/town/village taxes go up $700 this year and called the Town of Ramapo to find out why. “Garbage was a big increase’” she said. “I was told $120 went to the town and county…and the rest went to Airmont.”
CUPON’s Heather Frederico asked what was being done to resolve the many building/code violations that are in limbo, including several on Hillside Avenue: a Hasidic Orthodox cemetery with 10,000 burial plots; several illegal building structures; free-roaming livestock; and other quality of life issues that have gone by the wayside in the once bucolic village. Another resident reported that hoses coming out of the cemetery property were draining hundreds of gallons of water and foam onto Hillside Avenue without a permit. “The next day, everything froze,” said Dan Findlay. adding that he had called the Rockland County Health Department and NYS Dept of Environment Conservation as well. Findlay added, “It seems like the cemetery is not getting the level of inspections it should be.” Yet another homeowner has watched a large home be built around an old cottage, enclosing it entirely in the new structure —and no building inspector to challenge the “building within a building.” (See photos)
Embattled Deputy Mayor Brian Downey, indicted by a Rockland Grand Jury in mid-December on dozens of felony counts, led the Village of Airmont’s February 7 meeting in Mayor Nathan Bubel’s absence. He told the Zoom audience the Village is currently seeking building inspectors and a code enforcement officer. Downey also reviewed the upgrades being made to Airmont’s municipal hall— new doors, painting, carpeting and furniture for the first-floor offices at a cost of $70,000+ to be paid for through a DASNY (Dormitory Authority of New York State) grant. The Board also discussed renovating and renting out the Village hall’s second floor for other uses but failed to detail what those other uses might be. The village is also buying two new vehicles—one for its Building Department, another for its Code Enforcement Officer (when hired) for a total of $70,000.
Trustee Migdalia Pesante, who was having difficulty keeping on top of the many issues under discussion during the lengthy meeting, expressed her frustration at having to come to the table unprepared. She told Downey that she had not received her meeting packet until earlier that same day…and that it was not the first time that had occurred. “Why are they given to me on a Monday morning? I should have them 72 hours before the meeting…this is not an ‘emergency meeting.’ Why did it come at the last minute?” She told Downey and fellow trustees Shimon Moses and Isaac Weiss, “I need to be respected. I am interrupted, and I’m not allowed to speak. Is there a little discrimination going on here…because I’m a woman??…I feel like I’m being discriminated against.”
Airmont is also in search of a village court justice, since the Village’s attorney Scott Ugell is the judge in the Town of Clarkstown and cannot combine his role as village attorney with village justice. The board stated it is in the process of retaining Ferrick, Nugent and MacCartney to handle its Justice Court prosecutions and hopefully get a handle on the number of outstanding violations that have yet to be brought before the village court.
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