Orange County News Roundup, June 29
Orange County News Roundup, June 29

Governor Announces $1.5 Million to Renovate County Highways and Roads

Governor Cuomo announced on June 28 that $100 million will go to upgrade the state’s local roadways. Orange County will receive about $1,480,000 of that amount for county, city, town, and village roads. The county will receive around $593,430 for county roads. The county’s three cities have been allocated $250,745. Middletown gets $113,851 of that figure. Towns and villages in the county will receive about $636,011 and $250,499, respectively. The funding comes from the Governor’s PAVE NY initiative administered by the New York DOT as part of its $21.1 billion five-year capital plan. PAVE NY funds projects that improve the physical condition of local roadways, create jobs and enhance local economic competitiveness. PAVE NY funds roadway resurfacing, widening and realignment, construction of turning lanes at intersections, and new drainage to mitigate the harmful effects of flooding.

Community Development Office Delivers $475,000 to Repair Monroe Dam

Rich Mayfield, director of the county’s Office of Community Development, was joined by County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Village of Monroe Mayor Jim Purcell on June 22 to announce that $475,000 will fund the repair of Mill Pond Dam which was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. “This is a perfect example of intergovernmental cooperation that works to improve the lives of residents,” Neuhaus said. Mayfield credits the support of New York’s congressional delegation and the County Legislature, and the hard work of Joanne Fazzino, assistant director of Community Development. Monroe will use the funding to fix damage to the top embankment, remediate seepage, improve drainage outlets, replace missing stonework, and restore the dam to a stable condition. It will also provide controlled discharges to prevent future overtopping and flooding. The Orange County Office of Community Development administers disaster recovery funds provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in response to disasters declared by presidents.

Town-Owned Movie Theater Operates in Red; Tutini Resigns

The movie theater on Monroe’s Millpond Parkway continues to operate in the red one year after the town bought it, reported the Times Herald Record. Town Comptroller Peter Martin told the Record the theater lost $263, 313 from June 1, 2015 to May 31. Not included in the deficit are an annual payment to buy the building of $160,000 plus interest and $145,670 for maintenance and utilities. The Record reported that Mike Egan, of United Monroe, said the theater could lose $828,855 in 2016. “He used Martin’s own accounting of line-by-line expenses and proceeds to create his profit-and-loss statement,” the Record stated. The board voted to raise ticket prices from $5 to $7 and no longer has security guards on duty. On another matter, the Record reported that Anthony Vaccaro will serve the remainder of the seven-year term of town planning board chair Elisa Tutini. The town board accepted her resignation at the board’s meeting on June 20.

Middletown to Develop a Source Water Protection Plan

The City of Middletown plans to update its watershed plan, Mayor Joe DeStefano told the midhudsonnews online news service on June 27. The city took note of problems with Newburgh’s water supply and hired CDM Smith company to develop a source water protection plan. The reservoir system protection plan has not been updated in a year, DeStefano said. The city will pay CDM $107,400 for a study and DeStefano told mudhudsonnews CDM “will do an evaluation and make recommendations.” DeStefano assured city residents that city water is lead-free and safe. Public Works Commissioner Jacob Tawil said any traces of lead are from old pipes, not the water coming through. Tawil reported that only a handful of city residents have requested that their water be tested.

 Wallkill Shows Nearly-Complete Town Solar Farm

Town Supervisor Dan Depew gave a tour of a two megawatt solar farm capable of powering as many as 400 homes, reported the midhudsonnews. The array is expected to be completed in August. The online news service reported that the array on the former town landfill costs the town nothing. “It sends a message to the whole community that we are for green energy, we support the concept, and we do it in a way where it is not just green for the environment, but it’s green for the taxpayers,” Depew said. “The solar project is being constructed by GE,” midhudson reported.  GE also built the 10-acre solar facility at President Container in Wallkill. Town Supervisor Dan Depew said it comes after a year and a half of planning. The area had been a landfill, something Depew notes it took around $2 million to cap. Depew said the array will give the town $2 million of positive revenue over the next 20 years. The array has a lifespan of about 25 years.

Brabenec Reminds New Homeowners to Register for School Tax Break

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec reminds constituents of a state rule change that requires new homeowners to register for the School Tax Relief program (STAR) with the state instead of their local assessor. The change affects any homeowners who purchased their home after Aug. 1, 2015. Those who bought their home before May 1, 2014 will still receive their tax exemption and do not need to take any action. “Property and school taxes in the Hudson Valley have been ballooning for years,” Brabanec said, “adding a large financial strain on many homeowners.” Brabenec said the state legislature passed a cap on property taxes and qualified homeowners can now receive a STAR rebate check each fall. Homeowners who register by July 1 will receive their STAR rebate check in September, which will be worth the same amount as the exemption. Those who register after July 1 will receive a rebate check at a later date.

Goshen and Highland Falls Libraries Receive Construction Grants

Two libraries in Orange County will receive construction grants as part of the state legislature’s 2015-16 state budget. The Goshen Public Library & Historical Society, which is in the process of building a new library, will get $55,000 for demolition and site preparation for new construction. Highland Falls Library receives $21,500 to construct a new entrance ramp, janitor’s closet, and restroom. Assemblyman James Skoufis said “Public libraries are a cornerstone of our communities and provide critical access to resources for so many children and adults. I am very pleased to help provide funding to improve these facilities as they continue to meet growing demands.” Grants are supported by a capital fund appropriation to improve the public library system throughout New York State.

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