Shawangunk presented its tentative 2020 budget during its Town Board meeting on Thursday night, and the proposal would see the municipality stay within the state-mandated tax cap for the ninth consecutive year. During a budget work session following the Oct. 3 regular meeting, the board examined the proposed budget’s general fund, which includes a 1.53 percent increase over last year’s tax rate.
Under the tentative spending plan, the general fund would include $2,966,614 in spending, with $2,317,135 earmarked for the Highway Department and $1,024,396 allocated for the sewer district. In the tentative budget, $4,705,359 would be the total amount raised by taxes after expenses, reserves and unexpended balances are subtracted.
The final budget is not expected to go over the state’s two percent tax cap. The board will cover the highway portion of the budget during another workshop after its next meeting on Oct. 15. “We’ll have the hearing on the first Thursday in November, and we’ll probably adopt it then,” Shawangunk Town Supervisor John Valk said. “The plan is not to go over the tax cap. We’re going to be below the tax cap. That’s our goal and it always has been.”
A recent bond refinancing is set to put a significant chunk of change in Shawangunk’s coffers. Over the summer, the board approved the refinancing of the bonds the town issued in 2009 to fund the construction of the Town Hall. In July, the board voted to refund the bonds and they were subsequently resold. “They sold the bonds at the lower rate,” Valk said. “The old bonds will be called November 1st and the bank is holding the money in escrow from the new bonds. That’ll repay the old bonds on November 1st. So we’re exchanging the 25-year bonds for 15-year bonds at a lower rate. Also, the sewer bonds will be paid off altogether after 10 years because we have the revenue in the account.”
The town will save $35,000 next year on the bond refinancing, with an expected total savings of approximately $500,000 over the course of 15 years. The money is scheduled to be placed in the town’s reserve fund. “That’s our plan,” Valk said. “It came from this building (Town Hall), so we want to put it back into other buildings. It’s in the budget for buildings, paying debt service. If we can fix buildings with it, it’s found money.”
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is scheduled to attend the board’s next meeting on Oct. 17, as the county official has been visiting local municipalities this year to speak with elected officials and residents, and Shawangunk is next on his agenda.