Pelham Manor board adopts $16.3 million budget at virtual meeting, opens Shore Park

Pelham+Manor+board+adopts+%2416.3+million+budget+at+virtual+meeting%2C+opens+Shore+Park

The Pelham Manor Board of Trustees met Monday to finalize the 2020-2021 budget proposed on March 23, and discussed recent updates to Westchester’s Covid-19 status. Before adoption of the budget, the board allowed citizens to ask questions about the budget by phone.

As was the case in the most recent meetings, village officials practiced social distancing and strict sanitation routines throughout the meeting. Only a few members of the board were present at the meeting in order to keep the population density of the room low.

The proposed budget consists of $16.3 million in appropriations, with $13.2 million coming from real estate tax levies and $2.5 million coming from other revenues. The homestead tax rate dropped 1.37% to $6.5532 per $1,000 valuation, which is compliant with the tax cap in Pelham Manor.

A variety of inquiries were made during the open call regarding the procedure and methods taken by the board in preparing the budget. This included a question pertaining to Village Manager John Pierpont’s planning process for larger future expenditures.

What is the capital planning process for larger, single items like sanitation trucks and police cars? Does the village manager predict, prepare, and outlook what larger purchases may be expected in coming years?” The resident asked. “If not, is the board aware of large planned expenditures? When was the last time a five year plan was made?” 

Village Manager Pierpont responded with the statement that “…We like to look ahead. I think that’s why we have been able to anticipate a lot of things that happen. I’ll give you an example: Years ago, we knew sanitary sewers were going to be an issue, so we started a sanitary sewer evaluation before it was required by our agreement to the county. We started to put away funding for those repairs, and that was probably a five year lead time. As a result of that, in this and the next fiscal year, we will be spending one and a half million dollars on our sanitary sewer system based on the funding we’ve set aside, so we are paying for it out of the capital fund. We can’t catch it all, like the Coronavirus, but the answer to the question is yes, we do like to plan ahead.” 

Another suggestion was made by a resident to modernize the budget document itself. The resident said that many questions asked seemed to be because of a lack of understanding of the budget due of the complexities of the document. They suggested a summary of the budget be created each year to help ease some of the uncertainty around the document. Although initially reluctant, Village Manager Pierpont said that he is willing to sit down with the resident to discuss the idea of a budget summary.

To read the full budget, click here.

After the open forum, the board unanimously adopted the 2020-2021 budget and tax levy as listed in the budget.

In other news, Mayor Monachino Lapey and Village Manager Pierpont reported on a call they had earlier that day with the county representatives regarding COVID-19. Included in this call was Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County’s Health Commissioner. Dr. Amler reported that the social distancing and hygiene protocols being followed by the county were working. Thus far, there are are 887 hospitalizations in Westchester County for Covid-19 cases, a 10.5% hospitalization rate. While grim in normal circumstance, this is considered by the county as manageable.

Additionally, on May 1, Pelham Manor will reopen Shore Park under very strict social distancing procedure. The park will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. under monitoring. People must practice proper six-feet social distancing procedures and wear face masks if medically able. The playground equipment will still be cordoned off and the dog park will remain closed.