It is a pleasure to keep you informed regarding your Town of
Haverstraw Government. Listed below are current
issues, events and a review of 2014 happenings in Haverstraw, as well
as information that we believe would be of
interest to our residents.
· The Tentative Town Budget for 2015 has been completed. The budget reflects a total tax levy increase of less than 1.56%. The Governor’s Tax Cap is 2% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. 2015’s CPI for Town Governments in New York State is 1.56%. To remain within the tax cap we asked each Town Department to hold the line on their current costs. In achieving this goal, we would like to remind the public that many of the costs in the
Town Budget are not controlled by us but are mandated by the State. We must be careful not to negatively affect future budgets. An example of some of the mandated costs are: Health and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Police Salaries (binding arbitration) and Police and Employee Pension Costs. It is critical that we do not have a deficit budget. A deficit budget would translate into the Town’s excellent Bond Rating being reduced, which would mean
the Town’s costs for insurance, interest and bonding would increase significantly.
· The New York State Comptroller’s Office recently completed its Financial Stress Test for Town Governments. We are proud to report that the Town of Haverstraw rated better than any other Town Government in Rockland County and one of the best within the State of New York!
· The Town of Haverstraw, North Rockland School District, County of Rockland and the Villages of Haverstraw and West Haverstraw entered into a Settlement Agreement with the current owner of the Bowline Power Plants, NRG. Before the deregulation of the power producing industry by the State of New York, the Bowline Power Plants paid over $45 million dollars in total property tax (2006). Before the settlement was entered into, NRG was paying a total of $8 million dollars in property tax (2013). NRG’s position was that they would not pay more than $250,000 in property tax. This was completely unacceptable to the Town. Clearly the deregulation of the power industry has been a complete failure. The greatest burden of this failure has been on municipalities that have hosted these power plants. The new settlement requires NRG to pay a total of $3 million dollars in property tax. We are now on our fifth owner of the Bowline Power Plants since deregulation.
· We are pleased to report that the repair of the severe damage that was caused by Hurricane Sandy at our Bowline Point Park has been completed and the shoreline is now structurally stronger than it was prior to the storm. We would like to thank Congresswoman Lowey, State Senator Larkin and Assemblyman Zebrowski for their help and assistance in securing both FEMA and SEMO funding. The total funding for the shoreline restoration was $700,000.
· The Town of Haverstraw received a Community Development Block Grant for $80,000 for 2013 and another $116,000 for 2014 to construct a jetty and pier at Bowline Point Park. The jetty will serve to buffer the shoreline from future storms. We would like to thank the Rockland County Office of Community Development for their assistance and help.
· We are proud to announce that after 30 years of trying to acquire land at Helen Hayes Hospital across from the North Garnerville Elementary School, the Town has secured 25 prime acres at no cost to the taxpayer for future recreation! We would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Senator William Larkin, Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, the Board of Visitors of Helen Hayes Hospital, Kathleen Martucci-Chief Operating Officer and Tony
Ahanj-NYS Department of Health Representative. Without their vision and hard work this would never have been accomplished.
· We are excited to announce that our State Representatives Senator William Larkin and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski have informed us that the Town will be receiving approximately $600,000 in State funding for the following projects: resurfacing of several Town roads, design of the recently acquired 25 acres of land for recreational facilities, construction of a pier at Bowline Point Park, and construction of a dog park at our Scenic Hudson River Park on Beach Road.
· We are pleased to announce that the Town of Haverstraw and the Village of Haverstraw entered into a study to see whether consolidating the Village Justice Court into the Town could accomplish both a savings in costs and a greater efficiency in police coverage. We submitted a Consolidated Funding Application to the NYS Department of State which would pay for the cost of the study. When a Town Police Officer makes an arrest in the Village, two officers must take the person to the Town Police Station to be booked. They then must go back to the Village to have that person arraigned before the Village Justice (New York State Law does not allow a Village Justice to do an arraignment outside of the Village boundaries). Then the two officers must take the person back to the Town Police Station to be held. This means that two Police Officers are out of service on average an hour and a half, sometimes longer. If we could reduce this by even 50%, it would mean a tremendous increase in police coverage. We would like to thank Mayor Kohut and Trustees Batista, Dominguez, Bueno, and Watson for their commitment to the residents and taxpayers of our Town. We asked the Village of West Haverstraw if they would participate in the study and they declined the offer. We are hoping that they will reconsider if the study’s findings demonstrate that it can achieve the goals stated above.
· Town Clerk, Karen Bulley, would like to inform the public that her office remains open until 8:00 PM on Town Board Meeting nights which are normally scheduled for the second and fourth Mondays of the month unless there is a holiday. The Town Clerk’s Office has a notary on staff at all times. We are pleased to report that each of her staff members is a Certified Marriage Officer.
· The Town Receiver of Taxes, Ann McGovern would like to inform the public that her office remained open until 7:00 PM this past September 24th and 25th to collect your school taxes. The Town Receiver of Taxes would also like to remind the public that her office will remain open until 7:00 PM on Monday, January 26th and Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 for your convenience to collect Town and County property taxes.
· The Town of Haverstraw has secured $240,000 worth of equipment for the Highway Department. Our Superintendent of Highways, George Wargo continues to make his department more efficient by cutting costs and sharing equipment with other Town Municipalities and Villages. The Highway Department maintains the fleet of police department, parks, golf and volunteer ambulance corps vehicles. The Superintendent would like to remind our residents that all landscape/snow removal contractors must be licensed by the Town. A license can be obtained
at the Town Clerk’s Office at the Town Hall on Rosman Road.
· The Town of Haverstraw Justice Court received a grant in 2014 from the Justice Court Assistance Program to purchase two desktop scanners. Since 2007, the Justice Court has received $48,546.68 from the Justice Court Assistance Program.
· We had so many great events at our Bowline Point Park this past summer and fall. Some of the events were:
The Annual Vietnam Veteran’s Watch Fire at Bowline Point Park was held on May 30th. This ceremony recognizes all those who have served in the different branches of the United States Military, especially those who sacrificed their lives for freedom and liberty of all people.
The 11th Annual North Rockland Community 5K Run/Walk was held on Sunday, June 8, 2014 at Bowline Point Park. This event was sponsored by the Towns of Haverstraw, Stony Point and the North Rockland Central School District. The walk benefited three North Rockland families: Aris Gomez, Laura Mariotti and Billy Keenan - all three have serious medical needs. Thank you to everyone who came out to help support a great cause. Also, a special thank you to the Stony Point Seals and Fran Nardi who were each presented with a plaque in gratitude for their dedication to the North Rockland Community.
The Town of Haverstraw’s Annual Independence Day Fireworks Celebration took place on Saturday, July 5th. There was an enjoyable concert and then a spectacular fireworks display. It was perhaps the best show we have had to date.
Our Annual Thursday Night Open Air Concerts have become even more popular than before with attendance growing each year. Special thanks to Michael Gamboli, Director of Finance, who scheduled these concerts.
We would like to give a special thank you to United Water and Tilcon for their generous donation toward our summer concerts and 4th of July Fireworks Celebration.
We held our Annual Volunteer Recognition Night on August 27th for all those men and women who are members of our volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance corps. They were able to use all of our facilities at Bowline and were provided with refreshments in gratitude for their selfless service to our community.
The Second Annual Bricktown Challenge Triathlon/Duathlon was held on September 27th at Bowline Point Park and nearly 200 individuals participated in the race. The swimming event was held in Bowline Pond with the run and bicycling went through the park and around North Rockland. We would like to thank Detective David DeLaRosa and the Town of Haverstraw PBA for organizing the event.
The Town was a cosponsor with the Neighborhood Cruisers on their 13th Annual Cruisin’ For Kids Car Show fundraiser which was held on September 28th. Approximately 200 vintage cars were on display. Concerts were performed by Remedy and the Jillian and Sean Band. We would like to thank Bob DuBois, President of the Neighborhood Cruisers and the members for organizing this event. If you missed it, come next year and you will
have a great time.
Numerous organizations/families held their barbecues/picnics at Bowline Point Park. We are very pleased that our residents have come to enjoy a wonderful recreational facility at the most beautiful park on the Hudson River.
· The Town of Haverstraw along with the Village of Haverstraw were cosponsors for this year’s Dancing Under the Stars in the Village of Haverstraw. The first concert was on Friday, June 13, 2014 and the second was a Salsa/Merengue Night on Friday, August 22, 2014 on Maple Ave. next to the Village Hall in Haverstraw. The Town of Haverstraw was also a cosponsor with the Village of West Haverstraw for Dancing Under the Stars on Friday July 18, 2014 on Railroad Avenue. Thank you to Jerry Accomando for helping to organize the concert in West Haverstraw.
· We would like to thank the Rockland County Marine Corps League for hosting their 9-11 Ceremony at the Town of Haverstraw Town Hall. It is a moving ceremony where those who perished on 9-11 are remembered. We would also like to thank the volunteer fire departments who participated in this event.
· The 4th Annual United Latin Festival and Parade was held on Sunday, August 3rd at the Haverstraw Elementary School. This year’s honorees were: Hilda Cusick - Grand Marshal, Father Esteban Sanchez - Parade Godfather, Caterina Pantano - Parade Godmother, Jose Guillermo Rosa - Latin Honoree of the Year, Alicia Rivera and Guillermo Vasquez - Latin American Students of the Year, George M. Holt Funeral Home, Vilma’s Bakery and Catholic
Community Services of Rockland - Businesses of the Year. We would like to thank the committee which represents various Latin cultures for organizing this event. The day was full of music, food and cultural entertainment.
· We would like to congratulate the Village of Haverstraw on their First Annual River Arts Festival this part September. The festival was held at Emeline Park which is located at the end of Main Street in the Village of Haverstraw. There were arts and crafts, musical entertainment and food and refreshments for the public’s enjoyment.
· The Fifth Annual Town of Haverstraw Air Show was held this past August at our Scenic Riverview Park on Beach Road. We would like to extend our appreciation to the Hudson Valley Radio Control Club and Club President Bruce Leach for organizing the event. Over 700 youth and adults enjoyed the day’s events and donations were collected to support the Wounded Warriors Project.
· The First Annual Town of Haverstraw Shredding/Electronics Recycling Day was held on Saturday, June 28th in collaboration with ARC of Rockland. Residents were encouraged to bring any documents to be shredded or old electronics to be recycled. Dozens of our residents took advantage of this opportunity.
· Our 8th Annual 90+ Recognition Day was held on September 22nd at the Knights of Columbus in Haverstraw. There were 60 honorees in total with six new honorees for 2014: Martin Adler, Elizabeth Bates, Anthony Bosico, Elizabeth Conklin, Ann Kopko and Frances K. Smith. The Town of Haverstraw is blessed and honored to have these 60 honorees and thank you to all who made the day possible including George M. Holt, Shop-Rite, TD Bank, Knights of Columbus and Haverstraw Transit.
· Our Veteran’s Day Services will be held on Tuesday, November 11th. The service will commence at 11:00 AM at Calico Hill on Railroad Avenue in Garnerville.
· Any Town resident age 60 or older is allowed to obtain a senior citizen card for free at Town Hall. This entitles you to use Bowline Point Park. Many stores in our area also offer a discount to our seniors. The Town has instituted a new POS software package for Bowline Point Park and we request any senior with an old card to please come to Town Hall to get their updated cards.
· Our Youth Board once again has done an extraordinary job with this year’s events. Some of the events have included: Matilda on Broadway, Aladdin on Broadway, Marvel Universe Live!, a Mets game at Citi Field, Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest and Disney’s Frozen on Ice. Special thanks to our Youth Board Coordinator and the members of our Youth Board.
· The Town of Haverstraw Senior Citizens Program celebrated their 60th Anniversary on Wednesday, October 15th and we would like to congratulate them on reaching this momentous milestone. This program continues to grow in membership and there were numerous events in 2014 that included trips to: The Empire City Casino, Eisenhower Hall, Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Ehrhardts Waterfront Resort, Belmont Raceway, Thimble Island Cruise, Mt. Airy
Casino, and Westchester Broadway Theatre. Our seniors meet at the Knights of Columbus every Monday. Please go to the Town Of Haverstraw website www.townofhaverstraw.org for the complete schedule. If any person age 55+ is interested in joining, please call the Haverstraw Town Hall at 845-429-2200.
· The Town of Haverstraw Day Camp had another very successful season this past summer. This is a great program for our youth ages 6-13 who reside in the unincorporated area. Trips and activities for the day camp included: Splashdown, ice skating, Sportstime USA, Rockland Boulders game, movies, bowling, Bronx Zoo, Platzl Brauhaus BBQ and Rye Playland.
· We are very proud of the work that our Police Department has been performing especially with programs for the youth of our community, such as the North Rockland Youth Explorers and the North Rockland Youth Police Academy. Both programs are under the direction of Det. Richard Spatta, Haverstraw PD and Det. Andrew Kryger, Stony Point PD and are open to local high school students. For more information please contact our Police Department at 354-1500.
The Youth Explorers do volunteer work throughout the North Rockland community and the Youth Police Academy is a program that lasts for 10 weeks and covers numerous law enforcement topics as well as hands-on police training.
· The Town of Haverstraw Youth Court is in its 6th year. In 2013-2014 they graduated 25 high school age students who participated in the year round program where the students act as judge, jury, defense attorney and prosecutor. This enables youth who have minor offenses to avoid going through the criminal justice system. The Youth Court has been very successful for the students who participate.
· In keeping with the topic of law enforcement, we were recently able to secure law enforcement grants for the Town of Haverstraw Police Department totaling $57,000 for the following items at no cost to the local taxpayer: software for the Detective Bureau; additional computers for the police station; traffic enforcement, children’s car seats; enhanced video equipment.
· We would like to recognize Police Chief Charles Miller, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Sheriff Lou Falco, who through their efforts with their officers assigned to the Narcotics Task Force, we were able to secure $11,000 in seizure funds. To date, we have secured approximately $350,000 in seizure funds. This money is used for various needs and equipment for our police department.
· Congratulations to the Haverstraw Little League Junior League Boys who won the NYS Championship, 11 Year Old Boys Division who won the Rockland County Championship and Section IV Championship, Senior League Boys Division who won the Rockland County Championship and the Junior League Girls Softball Division who won the Rockland County Championship and Section IV Championship.
· The Town of Haverstraw is very proud to once again be in possession of the Civil War 95th Regiment Flag. The Town of Haverstraw has restored the flag base and it is now on display in our large meeting room at Town Hall. This flag was flown with soldiers from Haverstraw at the Battle of Gettysburg.
· The Town of Haverstraw was proud to host a Bronze Plaque Dedication commemorating the Letchworth Village Developmental Center on September 30th at the corner of Ridge Road and Thiells Mt. Ivy Road in Thiells. We would like to thank Wilbur Aldridge and the Board of Visitors for organizing this dedication. Letchworth Village opened over a century ago as a self-sustaining “farm village” for people with developmental disabilities named for philanthropist, William Pryor Letchworth. It was initially built as an alternative to the institutions of the past, and was
at one point home to nearly 6,000 individuals and the largest employer in Rockland County. Such an operation certainly sustained the North Rockland community during its heyday with many people from around the country relocating to work at Letchworth. Many of those employees and their families still remain in the area. While the farm ceased operation in the 1960’s, the institution continued to operate until the last resident moved to a home in
the community on March 28, 1996. This dedication is in memory to the thousands of individuals who called Letchworth Village home and the many honorable who worked there.
· Congratulations to the GARNER Arts Center for receiving a grant through the Preservation League of New York State for a conceptual design study for one of the buildings that was destroyed by Hurricane Irene, and which housed the former gallery of the non-profit GARNER Arts Center. The grant received was from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Fund, endowed by Thomas Schwarz, President of Purchase College. In addition, a plaque from the National Register of Historic Preservation was unveiled on September 24th to commemorate the Preservation League’s designation of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center’s listing on the State Register of Historic Places as the Rockland Print Works Historic District.” Under the leadership of Robin Rosenberg and the Board of the GARNER Arts Center they are transforming this industrial site into an active arts community and commercial business park. Thousands of people have attended their annual art shows including the recent Artoberfest this October. The
GARNER Arts Center is located on Railroad Ave. in the Village of West Haverstraw and it is known as an “Art, Business and Cultural Destination all in one location.” For more information please check out their website at www.garnerartscenter.org.
· Helen Hayes Hospital held their 10K Classic Race 2014 on Sunday, October 5th. This race was in memory of Niles M. Davis, Jr. who was instrumental in organizing the first HHH Classic in 1983. The proceeds were to benefit Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation, which supports a tremendous array of rehabilitation programs, services and equipment, all aimed at helping patients rebuild their lives following catastrophic injuries and chronic disabling illnesses.
We will continue to provide the most affordable, accessible and accountable Town government in the State of New York. We welcome all of our residents to attend our Town Board Meetings which are held the second and fourth Mondays at 8:00 PM and we welcome you to visit our web site at www.townofhaverstraw.org. Sincerely,
HOWARD T. PHILLIPS, JR.
ISIDRO CANCEL VINCENT J. GAMBOLI JOHN J. GOULD HECTOR L. SOTO Councilman Councilman Councilman Councilman