Pleasantville's Board of Trustees is considering amending the village code that breaks down solid waste unit charge fees.
On Monday, Deputy Mayor Jonathan Cunningham said, "We are reviewing every charge in this village and trying desperately to reach some sort of equality or equilibrium across all fees that are charged."
Under the current code, condominium, fee simple townhouse and apartment units pay 75 percent the amount single family homes do at $301.64 annually. The rest of the fees are as follows:
- Single-family residence: $402.18/year
- Two-family residence: $603.27/year
- Three-family residence: $904.91/year
The proposal would change the schedule to include condominium, fee simple townhouse and apartment units under the single-family residence rate (100 percent). If passed, the amendment would change the fee schedule to:
- Single-family residences and condos/townhouses/apartments: $381.79
- Two-family residence: $572.69
- Three-family residence: $859.03
The new rates would save single family homeowners approximately $20 annually, while apartment units would pay an additional $80 per year. Trustees said the altered fee schedule would lead to an increase in revenue for the village of approximately $25,000/year.
Cunningham said with the rate of certioraris "very much on the rise," and the statewide assessment of multi-unit dwellings, the village feels there has been a "disproportionate burden" hitting "the individual resident."
In budget discussion for the new fiscal year, both the village and were hit with tax grievances from Foxwood Condominiums, costing the village $350,000 for this year alone.
Additionally, he said the cost of garbage removal is increasingly becoming proportionate to the weight of the waste, which is an added burden to the village.
Many residents of the Foxwood Condominiums spoke during the public hearing on the issue, stating they find the proposal unfair, as many residents of its 254 units do not generate as much trash as other single family homes in the villages. The structure also has seven centralized garbage pickup locations, which some argued decrease the amount of time and stops for workers.
John VanRaalte, a member of Foxwood's Board of Managers, read a letter from the Board to the village.
"With all due respect, we feel the 75 percent figure is excessive and raising it further would be completely inequitable," he said, pointing out garbage collection at Foxwood represents "significant savings in terms of labor and in terms of time" versus visiting 254 single family homes.
"Clearly, our residents are paying much more than their fair share of the cost for garbage pickup," he said.
Sal Talio, a Lenox Avenue resident, contested the point that DPW workers spend a significantly higher amount of time picking up garbage at individual residences, stating they are not "being gentle" as VanRaalte implied.
Michael Downey, also a Foxwood resident, asked the trustees if there was a precedent for deliberately raising taxes for "just some portion of the population."
Village Administrator Patti Dwyer said the village code dows allow Board to adjust its formulas for determining tax rates, though it has not been done before.
"Have you also considered the possibility that it could result in another lawsuit?" asked Downey.
Allen Owens of Foxwood suggested "there's an opportunity of how we handle the process" and said the village's idea of equalizing rates would be unfair given the amount of time spent picking up and tonnage of waste produced by the condos' residents.
"I've looked at it pretty closely, and I think the more accurate number is 33 percent," he said.
Trustee Brian Skarstad said the new formula would equate to an additional cost of approximately $6.60 per month for affected residents.
"For us, those $25,000 makes a difference," he said."
Cunningham added the village is looking to buy a new garbage truck.
"We're going to need a second one in the next year or two," he said.
"Everyone in the village will use the truck, but it's not fair for only us..." to pay higher taxes, said Foxwood resident Louis Dorio.
The Board of Trustees said they will likely reschedule the vote on the issue for June 27.
- Resident Michelle Lucia called into Monday's meeting to address the "persistent problem" on Bedford Road of "prohibited truck traffic." While signs indicate trucks weighing more than five tons (except for local delivery) are prohibited from using the road, Dwyer said Police Chief Richard Love pointed out local law does not actually prohibit trucks in the part in the stretch of Bedford Road east of and will need to be addressed in the coming weeks.
- Representatives from came before the Board during Monday's work session to discuss a proposed addition that will include selling used automobiles at the Depew Street establishment, keeping up to 25 cars on premise. Cunningham said the Board will look into the required process for the proposal and asked the parties to come back next week.
- The village plans to reject all bids that came in to renovate the former building on Marble Avenue, stating they were all too high. Village Administrator Patti Dwyer said the village will look into what went wrong and begin the bidding process again.
If you missed Monday's meeting, you can watch it on full on PCTV's website.