Philmont gets tough on tax delinquents

PHILMONT–The Village Board has adopted a law approving a payment plan for residents who owe village taxes. Now that the payment plan is available, the village intends to pursue unpaid taxes more aggressively.

“If they don’t pay village taxes, we’re left holding the bag,” Village Attorney Robert Fitzsimmons said at the May 12 meeting. The law passed with unanimous support.

The new local law “allows that village to enter into payment plans on delinquent taxes,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said. “A lot of people are savvy enough to know,” he said, that in the past, if they paid their county and state taxes while avoiding the village tax, they would not face foreclosure. This is because until now the village has not aggressively pursued those delinquent on their village taxes nor has the village foreclosed on properties whose owners don’t pay.

Mr. Fitzsimmons said that if residents who are delinquent in their village taxes do not take advantage of the payment plan or pay their taxes in full, “We are going to foreclose on properties.”

The payment plan requires residents delinquent in their village taxes to make a 25% down payment, and pay the rest over no more than 24 months.

“We sent demand letters to everyone who was delinquent in taxes,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said.

Village Clerk and Treasurer Kim Simmons said, “We’ve had about 10 people who responded,” some of whom paid the full amount due.

Residents interested in participating in the new payment plan should contact Ms. Simmons at the Village Office at 518 672-7032. Regular tax bills will be sent out on May 30, and are due by July 1.

Also passed was a resolution to take action against residents with delinquent water bills. The action to be taken was not specified.

In other business, a motion was passed authorizing Mayor Clarence Speed to sign a contract with Monolith Solar. Solar panels will provide all electricity at the Department of Public Works, and will generate enough excess power—which can be sold back—to effectively cover 53% of the electricity use costs at the Village Office.

Trustee Barbara Sagal and Ms. Simmons also urged residents to review recycling rules, noting that some recycling bins have contained “appliances, dirty diapers, [and] shoes,” eliciting an audible gasp from several board members. The village is going to make an effort to re-educate residents about appropriate recycling practices, after which contaminated recycling bins will be left uncollected.

This week the board:

•Announced that he Santa Claus Club will hold a craft and vendor fair at Memorial Field Saturday, May 17, from 9 am to 2 pm. According to the Village of Philmont’s website, a 12 x 12 space can be reserved for $25. Contact Kim at 518 821-9391 or Kevin at 821-8094 to reserve a space

•Heard from Library Director Karen Garafalo that work on the library’s new pavilion is coming along, and that a contract for the roof was awarded to Kaspar Meier of May Hill Timberpeg

•Learned that the Book It! 5k walk/run cosponsored by the Philmont and Claverack libraries drew 133 participants and raised $1250 for each library. “That’s unheard of for the first time you do it,” said Ms. Garofalo. “We plan on doing it again next year”

•Heard that photographs by members of the Columbia County Amateur Photography club are on display at the Philmont library. There will be a reception on May 17th from 5 to 7 p.m. and that the library received a $400 grant from the Mid-Hudson Library System for a summer reading program.

•Learned from Trustee Douglas Cropper that the Community Center has new kick balls and table tennis paddles. Game nights at the Community Center are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

•Announced that the Philmont Local Develoment Corporation—which was formed to develop a project, now abandoned, for an artisans center—has been dissolved. The unfinished project had received a grant from the state; some its funds were returned to the village, the rest were returned to the state

•Heard from Trustee Larry Ostrander said that there are three quotes coming in for a new fire truck. Mr. Ostrander said a proposal should be available in roughly two months, and the board discussed the possibility of a public referendum to finance the purchase of the truck.


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