The Village of Valley Stream board of trustees voted unanimously to approve an $8.7 million bond at a Jan. 22 meeting.
The bond will increase the village’s total debt to $35 million, or 12.8 percent of its debt limit, up from 11.5 percent. “We are at such a small amount of our borrowing power, like consumers using credit cards for large purchases, we are nowhere near being ‘maxed out,’” Mayor Ed Fare told the Herald in a statement.
The bond will finance:
Installation of new flagpoles at Memorial Plaza.
Additional vehicles for the village’s fleet.
Construction of a new waste-transfer station, where garbage is unloaded from smaller trucks onto larger ones for transport to a disposal site.
Reconstruction of various streets in the village.
Leveling of the floor and changing the roof at the new courthouse.
Village Treasurer Michael Fox said that the total bond would probably be paid off within 26 years, with the vehicles paid off in about seven years. “Each item has a different lifespan,” he explained.
It was necessary to pass the bond this month, Fox said, because the vehicles and flagpoles have outlived their usefulness. Each year, he said, the village finances new vehicles to replace those that are too old to repair. He also said that last year, one of the Memorial Plaza flagpoles cracked and was immediately replaced. At that point, the village decided to bond for the other new flagpoles, at a total cost of $50,000.
Other repairs have become necessary over the years, such as the road improvements and repairs to the new courthouse, at 195 Rockaway Ave., which is set to open in March. The village is also building the new waste-transfer station at the Arlington Avenue yard, which will cut transfer costs and the foul odor in the area.
The current waste compactor is roughly 30 years old, and it no longer complies with state Department of Environmental Conservation design codes, which require all transfer stations that take in more than either 50,000 cubic yards or 12,500 tons of solid waste annually to operate “within an enclosed building or covered area.”
Fox added that he did not expect a significant tax increase –– if any. “It will not go up any more than the tax cap,” he said. The tax-levy cap is now 2 percent.
If these costs were not bonded, they would greatly increase the budget for 2018, according to former Village Treasurer John Mastromarino. “What we’re doing is what every government does. We’re spreading out the cost,” he said, comparing the process to paying a mortgage on a house rather than paying the full price up front. “To raise taxes for the full amount of the bond would be onerous,” Mastromarino added.
The village expects to issue a request for proposals on the various items in the bond in the fall. In the meantime, the village is set to present its 2018 budget on March 26.
Nick Ciccone contributed to this story.