With less than a week to go before Tuesday's vote to approve a $550,000 bond resolution for the Ellenville Fire Department's plan to purchase the JM Originals store, the district has been increasing its efforts to publicize its plans and address most people's main concern — the cost. The public information campaign that EFD Commissioner Mike Moschetta has been waging in order to get the votes he needs to pass the resolution culminated in last night's meeting at the Greenfield Firehouse. [Editor's Note: Full coverage of that meeting will be available online Thursday evening.]
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: The Ellenville Fire District Vote
WHERE: Greenfield Park Firehouse, Route 52 West
WHEN: Tuesday, January 29, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
WHY: To vote on whether or not to approve a $550,000 bond so the district can purchase the JM Originals building (Yankee & Canal) and possibly consolidate Ellenville’s three fire companies – Kimble, Pioneer and Scoresby.
WHO: Who can vote? All registered voters who are residents of the Ellenville Fire District.
EFD Commissioner Mike Moschetta, who has spearheaded the JM effort, now says that the district has been working on annual budget numbers for an anticipated $4.1 million sum that will include the building's purchase and remodeling.
Moschetta has spoken with Wawarsing Town Assessor Mike Sommer and gathered some rough numbers to provide as a complete a picture as possible for district taxpayers. Moschetta says he knows he must do this if he wants to move forward.
Moschetta says that the fire company is looking at a 30-year bond at a best-case scenario of 3% in order to pay the $4.1 million. Moschetta is hoping to offset that number with federal grants through the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Moschetta says he has spoken with Ulster County Legislator TJ Briggs about exploring those opportunities.
When asked whether individual firehouses would use the earnings created by selling their current locations to pay down the bond debt, Moschetta explained that the district could not compel any firehouse to donate any of their money and that the decision would have to be made by each individual company.
"I discussed this with people in my firehouse [Scoresby] and some of the money would definitely go to paying this off. [As for the other firehouse] hopefully they'll do the right thing. I'll leave it at that."
EFD Tax Calculator
Take your property assessment and divide it by 1,000. That is your "assessment multiple". Multiply that by $94.15 to get your current EFD tax amount.
Example: $2,500/1,000 = 2.5 x $94.15 = $235.38
Step 2: Take 207 and multiply it .15. = $31.05
Example: $207,429/1,000 = 207.429 (round down to 207)
Step 3: Take the product of Step 2 and multiply it by the assessment multiple in Step One.
Example: $31.05 x 2.5 = $77.63
Step 4: Take the products of Step 1 and Step 3 to see what your cost will be.
By The Number: So how much is this going to cost Ellenville Fire District taxpayers? The Ellenville Journal got out its slide rule and work out some rough numbers.
If the EFD succeeds in getting its 30-year bond at a 3% interest rate, the total cost of the project will be $6,222,870. That number does not include any cost overruns in remodeling or any funds that could be received through grant initiatives.
Cost To You: There are currently 3,427 parcels in the Ellenville Fire District. Within the district the average land owner's assessment is $2,500. Currently, the EFD assesses taxpayers within the district with a $94.15 per thousand of the assessment. For example, an average EFD taxpayer would multiply the $94.15 by 2.5 to get $235.38 — the sum that taxpayer would owe the fire district per year. If your assessment is higher, say $3,500, then you would multiply the district's rate per thousand ($94.15) by 3.5 to get your number. And so on.
For every $1,000 the EFD adds to its yearly budget, every taxpayer must currently add 15 cents to his or her yearly payment. If the fire district receives its bond request, the monthly payment will be just over $17,000 or $207,429 per year. [Note: Currently, the EFD's budget is $639,400.]
At the .15 per $1,000 rate (.15 x 207) the average EFD taxpayer would pay an additional $77.63 – a 33% increase in their fire district tax levy.
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