Upper Nyack officials and residents want to know where their tax dollars are going. Last night, Clarkstown officials offered their explanation.
As an incorporated village within the Town of Clarkstown, Upper Nyack pays taxes to the town in exchange for a variety of services. But recently, some village residents have expressed concern to village officials, believing they do not receive enough services to warrant the amount of taxes paid.
This has forced the village board to carefully consider the future of Upper Nyack. At a meeting held Dec. 15 of last year, : remain an incorporated village in Clarkstown, dissolve the village and become a hamlet within the town or turn Upper Nyack into a town-village.
In an effort to address this issue, Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack and town councilmembers Shirley Lasker, Stephanie Hausner and George Hoehmann, among others, visited Upper Nyack’s Village Hall for a joint village/town board meeting last night.
The focal point of this gathering was a lengthy presentation in which Clarkstown Town Attorney Amy Mele, Department of Environmental Control Deputy Director Ralph Lauria and several other Clarkstown officials gave a detailed account of the services Clarkstown does and does not provide to Upper Nyack.
In 2011, Clarkstown is expected to collect $2,234,251.51 in taxes from Upper Nyack. Services the town provides for this fee include general government support, open space, recycling, public safety (police), access to town parks and the ability to participate in recreational activities.
Services such as highway and sewer maintenance, water and waste management are required to be provided by the village under New York State law. In addition, Clarkstown does not levy taxes on services such as ambulance, fire and sanitation—these services fall under the auspices of special districts who set individual tax rates.
Following the presentation, questions were raised by village board members. Trustee James Sarna wants Clarkstown to ensure tax dollars collected from Upper Nyack do not go towards expenses the village is not responsible for.
Trustee Jeffrey Hindin thanked the Clarkstown Town Board for attempting to clarify certain issues, but also hopes the town could make more programs and services available to Upper Nyack residents.
Lasker—a resident of Upper Nyack—said she is hopeful this meeting will begin mutual cooperation between the town and village and that the dialogue can continue.
“I love the Village of Upper Nyack,” she said. “We will cooperate with the village and want to help in any way we have the legal authority to.”
“Upper Nyack residents are citizens of the Town of Clarkstown,” Gromack added. “We view you as part of our Town and are committed to helping you in any way we can.”
If Upper Nyack to decides to secede from Clarkstown, it would require a petition with signatures from five percent of Clarkstown voters who participated in the most recent Governor election. Next, the town would vote.
Another similar meeting will take place in a matter of months, officials said.