2013 STATE OF THE TOWN
Traditionally, the Reorganization Meeting is an
opportunity to review our past achievements and set goals for
the New Year. The Town Board members and I
are proud of what we have been able to achieve with our Elected
Officials, Department Heads and Town staff.
For seven years we have been requiring that all departments do
more with less and they have responded with absolute dedication
and commitment in providing the most efficient and affordable
Town Government in the state of New York. Let me
begin by recognizing and applauding the Town Board members
Isidro “Papo” Cancel, Vincent Gamboli, John Gould and Hector
Soto. Without their cooperation, support and
tireless work, it would be impossible to have achieved the
successes that we as a board aspire to each year.
I would like to list some of our accomplishments in the
fiscal year 2012:
The Town secured a $190,000 grant to construct and
install new lighting fixtures at Bowline Point Park at no
cost to the local tax payer.
Installation of Belgian Block curbs on Pine Street,
Hemlock Drive and Castle Court at a cost of $95,000.
Received an approved grant for $85,000 to install a new
pump station at Bowline Park to replace our 37 year old pump
Resurfacing of the Olympic size swimming pool at Bowline
Park for $138,000 as well as purchase of new pool cover for
Constructed walking and jogging paths around Cheesecote
Pond and repaved access road at $250,000.
$236,000 of this was at no cost to the local taxpayer.
Installation of new $50,000 playground equipment at
Bowline Park at no cost to the local taxpayer.
Completion of installation of bar screen at the Waste
Water Treatment Plant for $625,000 at no cost to the local
taxpayer. Upgrading a pump station at Haley
Purchase of two new Ford F Series 350 dump trucks and
plows at a cost of $77,000 for the Town of Haverstraw
Purchase of salt spreaders for winter snow plowing at a
cost of $15,000.
Purchase of two new dump bodies and spreaders for Highway
Department at a cost of $37,000. By purchasing
the dump bodies we save the taxpayer the cost of purchasing
two new trucks.
Purchase of new Bandit Wood Chipper at a cost of $58,000.
Purchase of new macadam sealer at a cost of $20,000.
Installation of improvements at the Town of Haverstraw
Justice Court at no cost to the taxpayer.
Purchase three new police vehicles to replenish existing
Purchase of police car computers and four portable light
towers through Federal grant and seizure funds for $161,000
at no cost to the taxpayers.
Construction of new police communication and records room
at the Police Station.
Purchase of two new electronic speed signs at no cost to
the local taxpayer.
Annual NR Youth Police Academy sponsoring over 35
At the Town of Haverstraw Philip J. Rotella Memorial Golf
Course we were able to accomplish the following:
Hosted ESPN National Local Team Qualifier; 2012 Maccabi
Games sponsored by the RC JCC Maccabi bringing golfers from
15 different countries; Golf Channel Amateur Tour Event;
Junior RCC Eastern 13 Regional Championships;
RC High School Championship; Hudson
Valley Special Olympics, the 5th Annual
Rally for the Cure for Breast Cancer and the
New fleet of 75 golf carts from Club Car.
Installation of Belgian block curb and completion of
Repair of 16th fairway from damage from
Hurricane Irene at golf course.
On behalf of the Town Board we would like to recognize
the outstanding work of our Superintendent, Cal Fowx and his
staff as well as PGA golf pro, Mike Laudien and his staff.
At the Town of Haverstraw Bowline Park we hosted the
The 3 Mile Fun/Run with over 500 participants which
raised $9,000 for the DiCarlo, Fay and Santiago families.
Rockland County Police Emerald Society, Inc. 3 Mile
Run/Walk which was held to help defray the medical costs for
Kevin O’Grady who is an active law enforcement officer.
Annual 4th of July Fireworks and concert;
Volunteer Firefighter and Ambulance Corp Recognition night,
Thursday night open-air concerts; Labor Day concert and
Peter Greene Foundation Fundraiser and Annual Halloween
We would like to thank our Parks Director Mike Cotier and
Staff for their diligence and dedication throughout the year.
Bowline Point Park continues to be the most beautiful park on
the Hudson River.
In addition to the recreational events at Bowline Park, the
Town also sponsored the following:
Co-sponsored 2nd Annual United Latin Festival
featuring a parade, concerts, and dancing.
Co-sponsored Annual Dancing Under the Stars.
Hosted the 3rd Annual Hudson Valley Radio
Control Club air show.
Hosted the first “Helis over the Hudson” Radio Control
Co-sponsored the Annual Hudson River Striped Bass Contest
at the Haverstraw Marina.
Co-sponsored the Hudson Valley Brickyard 5000 North
Rockland Rowing Club.
Sponsored our Annual House Decorating Contest for
Halloween and Christmas and Hanukah. Special
thanks to Tilcon NY, United Water, Zugibe Hardware and
Beckerle Lumber for their donations.
The Town of Haverstraw Youth Board hosted the following
Special thanks to our Youth Board Coordinator, Lorraine
Arocena, Chair April Cobb and all those on our youth board who
have brought together events that continue to be extremely
Arguable, we have one of the most progressive and active
Senior Citizens Program in the State of New York. We
would like to recognize our Senior Leader, Maureen Corallo and
President, Judy O’Sullivan as well as our other elected
officials of our Senior Citizens Club for their dedication and
commitment to the seniors of Haverstraw. Some
of the great events were trips to Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun;
Wildwood, New Jersey; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Norwegian Cruise
Lines Cruise to Nowhere and the Holiday Show at the Eisenhower
Hall, West Point.
To help offset your property taxes, we have been working
diligently to bring in new ratables to the Town of Haverstraw;
i.e.: the newly constructed New York Sports
Club, the proposed shopping center located in Mt. Ivy the
Minesceongo Park, the proposed Haverstraw Water Supply Project
and the Mt. Ivy Country Corners Convenience Store on the corner
of Route 202 and 45.
We continue to actively market the 174 acres at the
former Letchworth Village site which the Town purchased in 2002.
It has been very difficult in this economic downturn to
find developers or business that are interested in the property
but we will continue to aggressively market this land.
As we enter into fiscal year 2013, we continue to try and
hold costs wherever possible. The Town of
Haverstraw tax remains the lowest in Rockland County.
Our sewer tax may be the lowest in the Hudson Valley.
We continue to seek to offset local taxes through
federal, state and private grants. I have
listed below the three main reasons for the increase in Town tax
New York State Mandated Increase
Rockland County Increases
Rockland County Loss of Reimbursements
RC College Chargebacks
RC Election Costs
(Includes all Police costs: Salaries, benefits, Overtime,
Total NY State, Rockland County & Police Increases:
Therefore, before the Town Board and I began to review
any other expenses in the 2013 budget, we were faced with a
$1,992,000 increase. To give a better
indication of what this means, the 2% tax cap would have allowed
us to increase the budget by $601,200. The
increases alone from the state exceed this.
In addition, the increases from the county exceed this and the
increases in our police budget nearly exceed this.
Without these costs, the rest of the budget would have been a 1.95% tax
In addition, through attrition, we have reduced the size
of the Town police force by five officers. We
have gone from 73 officers to 68. However,
the Town of Haverstraw police overtime has risen in the last
three years from approximately $1 million to $1.5 million, a
$500,000 increase. Over 60% of our general
fund budget is police costs. Our officers through
the leadership of Chief Charles Miller have demonstrated their
commitment and unfailing dedication to the people of Haverstraw.
What the Town Board members and I are concerned
with is the unsustainable cost of police protection in our Town
and in Rockland County.
We continue to request that the state amend binding
arbitration as well as the 207c (line of duty injury) payment
and return policies. Currently, there is no
incentive for officers to return to work as soon as possible
under state laws.
Beginning in 2012, we entered into extensive and
prolonged negotiations with GenOn Corp. the own the power plants
known as Bowline 1 & 2. Previously, in the
State of the Town Message and in newsletters as well as articles
in the Journal News, we have informed the public of the
continuing lawsuit that GenOn, formerly Mirant, has filed
against the Town each year for the last four years.
Most residents will recall that in 2006 State Supreme
Court Judge Dickerson set the assessment for these power plants
at a value of approximately $380 million. The
first time a challenge to the value could be contested was in
2009. The owner at the time, Mirant, filed
for a 94% reduction in 2009, and a 97% reduction for 2010, 11 &
12. During the same time the Town Assessor
reduced the value of the power plants by 50%.
GenOn/Mirant believed that this reduction was not sufficient.
(No other property owner has seen a 50% reduction during this
time within the Town of Haverstraw.) In
mid-December of 2012, we believed we had reached a settlement
agreement. Unfortunately, at the same time
GenOn Corp. was acquired by NRG Corp. As of
today, the status of the negotiations are unclear.
It is yet to be determined if NRG Corp. wishes to
construct a new state-of-the-art power plant which GenOn applied
to the State to construct and which the Town Board supported.
As soon as we hear from NRG, the new owners, we will be
informing the public of the status of this lawsuit.
I think it is important that our residents realize that
we are now on the 5th owner of these plants since New York State passed
deregulation of the power
Due to the recent Hurricane Sandy, the Town sustained
considerable damage along the riverfront and other areas of the
Town. We have been working closely with FEMA
to secure funds to repair the damage. Last
year when Hurricane Irene struck, we were able to secure from
FEMA reimbursement of $193,000 for damage to town property.
The Town Board and I have maintained the same number of
staff at Town Hall since 1981. We continue to
be successful in securing grants although the availability of
grants has been greatly diminished in these challenging economic
times. We have pledged and promised to
continue to provide excellent Town government and services at
the lowest possible cost.
The Town of Haverstraw’s Independent Auditors issued an
exemplary audit report. Our finances remain in
excellent order and we currently have an exceptional bond rating
of Aa3 from Moody’s Investors Services.
I would like to express our gratitude to
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
who continues to fight for the rights of senior citizens and
our residents and ensures that we have outstanding
representation in Washington, D.C. In
addition, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to
Senator William Larkin
who although officially did not begin to represent the Town of
Haverstraw until January 1st of this year, he
immersed himself in all of the Town’s concerns in 2012 and was
of great assistance in dealing with all the state agencies.
Kenneth Zebrowski continues to play an instrumental part for
the Town of Haverstraw having a strong voice in Albany.
His assistance with grants and capital projects has been
invaluable. I would like to also compliment
the constant cooperation that the Town and the Villages of
Haverstraw, West Haverstraw and Pomona have demonstrated.
A special thanks to
Mayors Kohut, Ramundo and
Yagel and their boards for their assistance.
We continue to have strong representation through
Legislators Grant and
Hood whose constant communication and consultation has been
of great service. It is also important to
recognize the progressive and innovative work of our
District Attorney, Thomas Zugibe and Sheriff Lou Falco.
They have demonstrated their commitment to the people of
Haverstraw and Rockland County through their action and vision.
We have also been well-served by the dedicated support
and unwavering backing of our
Country Clerk, Paul Piperato.
It is most important that I commend all of the elected
officials, department heads, and employees of the Town of
Haverstraw who continue to work hard doing more with less
serving our Town and residents. Let us hope
that with God’s assistance 2013 will bring better times and more
unity in our county. May God Bless and
protect all the men and women in our armed services and all the
people of our great nation.
Howard T. Phillips, Jr.