Transcript of Statement from Mayor Veitch and Video of Board of Trustees Hearing From February 26, 2024

Please note Video below Transcript of Statement – There was a problem the sound in the first 7-8 minutes of the Board Meeting when the Mayor made the following statement.

Good evening. When I ran for Mayor last year, I ran my campaign on the promise of transparency. I remain committed to that promise. 

I’d like to share some of what we’ve learned since this administration started last July, so that the evening’s comments can be put into context.

Over the last eight months, we have been evaluating all of the systems, processes and infrastructure in the village, and what we have found is disappointing. So much of our technology is antiquated, many roads and sidewalks are in poor condition, the solar panels at Ho-Hum, (the only source of electricity) are at the end of their useful life. These are just a few of the many challenges we face.

In addition to the condition of infrastructure, we are faced with increasing costs for services. Here are three examples:

The employee health insurance has increased 15.5% over the last two years from $628,200 to $726,000.

The insurance policy carried for the village has increased 30-38% over the last two years depending on final numbers were are waiting for from our carrier.  Specifically, from $270,000 to $350,000-$375,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. 

One final example, the cost of lifeguards at Ho-Hum Beach has increased 14% since summer 2022.  (From $64,900 to $74,000)

So how do we address the challenge? Thoughtful cost-cutting and revenue generation and increased taxes. That deep dive into the budget started this past January.

Over the last several weeks the Board held public meetings with each of the department heads and approached the budgeting process with an eye toward, cost cutting opportunities and revenue generation. 

We were able to find some of those opportunities throughout the budget process.

When it came to evaluating the ferry and Ho-Hum operation, we learned that the cost of keeping the beach open with staff alone, on any given day, runs over $1500/day.  Weekday ridership over the last couple of years was sometimes as low as 3-4 individuals for the day.

We discussed this publicly, at a meeting last Tuesday making clear that we did not intend to vote on this but that we wanted to explore the possibility of opening the ferry on Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays to increase revenue.  The feedback from our constituents has been decidedly negative. 

I’m thankful to the people who contacted my office on this issue. 

Because we value your opinions, in response to these overwhelming, if at times not fully informed, the ridership rules will remain as they have been in the past which is basically residents and their guests only.  This illuminates one very important aspect of the matter which is community input, the very essence of democracy.  Public discussion is a very important piece of the puzzle, and we will continue to take this into consideration as we move forward.

I ran for mayor promising transparency, but I also promised fiscal responsibility. The trustees and I will continue to look at other possibilities for cost cutting and revenue generation which are also open for discussion. 

I share a love of the Village and doing what is right. I hope that we will continue to communicate with one another in an open and civil manner to get to the right solutions for everyone.

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