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Orange County Sales Tax Sharing Agreement

Legislative Meeting

Presentation by Ralph Caruso,
To the Orange County Legislature

December 6, 2007 

  • The three biggest Sales Tax Revenue sources, Woodbury, Wallkill and the Town of Newburgh are once again being short changed.

  • Woodbury generates about 35% of all Sales Tax Revenue for Orange County, and gets peanuts in return, while putting up with traffic congestion, increased air and noise pollution, emergency services demands and police protection.

  • The three cities Port Jervis, Newburgh and Middletown have their special arrangement in the agreement, and so does the Village of Highland Falls, which reads “except as to the Village of Highland Falls as provided in the applicable paragraph of section 1262 ( c )” of the NYS Tax Law, that refers to the use of, ratio of valuation, rather then, population, for calculating tax sharing.

  • We have the Village of Woodbury, and it too should be given the same benefit because the present result is the combined sales tax share received by both the Village of Highland Falls and the Town of Highlands is almost double the sales tax received by the Town of Woodbury though it now has the Village of Woodbury which receives zero in sales tax sharing, while also stating the population in the Town and Village of Woodbury is about 40% greater then the population of the Town of Highlands and the Village of Highland Falls combined.

  • Several have argued that the Town of Highland has 93% tax exempt Federal and State property, well the response to this is, the Town and Village of Woodbury has 53% tax exempt Federal and State property.


No other resident and no public official from the Village and Town of Woodbury spoke at 12-06-2007 in any attempt to get the legislature to give Woodbury a greater share of the sales tax revenue.

The legislature passed the tax sharing agreement with one minor administrative change that did not add any more money to Woodbury’s appropriation.


Update on the Water Tower Issue

Woodbury Village Board October 10, 2007


As you know, the Village of Woodbury building inspector recently discovered that the Village of Kiryas Joel had begun construction of two water towers on a ˝ acre plot of land it owns in Woodbury that is adjacent to Kiryas Joel. In response, the Village of Woodbury immediately issued a stop work order directing that all work stop on the project to allow the customary process of administrative review to proceed, and prepared the necessary legal papers to be filed to follow through on this issue. Had the Village of Kiryas Joel followed customary procedures, an administrative review by the Village of Woodbury Boards would have occurred in the normal course of events for a construction project of this sort on Woodbury property. This review would necessarily involve a legally required balancing of the public interest test weighing the public benefits to Kiryas Joel residents of the water towers for fire safety and health issues against the legitimate local interests and adverse impacts to the Village of Woodbury resulting from the project.

Findings by the Woodbury Village Board:

Since the time that the stop work order was issued, the Woodbury Village Board has looked closely at the laws concerning municipal projects of this sort. We considered all possible strategies for addressing the issue and have had extensive discussions with Village residents. We have looked at the possible outcomes for Woodbury for each option. Key conclusions of that review are that:

1. Municipalities have considerable latitude under NY State law to construct infrastructure improvements on land they own in other municipalities when the benefits outweigh the impacts to the host municipality. A prominent example in our area is the Orange County court facility in the Village of Goshen, and the Orange County Jail and the E-911 facility in the Town of Goshen. None of these projects went before the Town or Village Boards for approvals. This legal landscape makes it unlikely that the Village of Woodbury would be able to stop the water towers project through legal action.

2. Kiryas Joel was required by County/State Health officials to construct elevated water storage tanks to provide adequate pressure to the fire sprinkler and hydrant systems in their community. This will promote public safety in Kiryas Joel and also provide added protection to the firefighters of Woodbury, who are often called upon to fight fires in the neighboring village of Kiryas Joel, as they are in other neighboring municipalities. The DEC required Kiryas Joel to build two tanks so that there would be a backup system when one tank is down for repairs.

3. Kiryas Joel should have approached the Town of Woodbury (prior to June 1, 2007) and/or the Village (from June 1, 2007 onwards) to request administrative review of the proposed work in Woodbury. They did not.

4. Once the stop work order was issued, Kiryas Joel exercised their right under the law to appeal to the Village of Woodbury Zoning Board of Appeals ("ZBA") and obtain a "stay," which puts the order on hold until the ZBA can review the project under the balancing of the public interests test at a future meeting. This is the current state of affairs.

5. Even if the ZBA were to deny the water towers upon review, the decision would certainly be appealed by Kiryas Joel to the courts that would likely uphold Kiryas Joel's position under the required public interests balancing test because the water towers on land adjacent to the Kiryas Joel provide a clear health benefit to their community without a corresponding or overriding detriment to the Village of Woodbury.

6. In addition to the failure by Kiryas Joel to follow customary channels of administrative review, three serious potential concerns have been raised by Woodbury residents and officials regarding the water tanks.

    1. Visual impacts
    2. Lack of on-site access by the Village of Woodbury Building Inspector
    3. Water supply impacts on Woodbury

Course of Action:

Representatives from the Village of Woodbury Board and Village of Kiryas Joel Board met early this week to discuss the concerns of our community, and assess the relative merits of the public interests balancing test concerning the project. The meeting was constructive and resulted in a strategy for moving forward on this issue that, in the unanimous view of the Village of Woodbury Board, will provide maximum benefits to Woodbury on all areas of concern while at the same time containing legal costs. This strategy is a legally-enforceable "Inter-Municipal Agreement" between the Villages of Woodbury and Kiryas Joel spelling out a set of actions Kiryas Joel must follow to address each of the concerns that Woodbury has raised. The full agreement will be available for review shortly. In brief, it provides for the following:

1. Kiryas Joel will not drill, purchase or accept any water from either the ˝ acre site upon which the towers sit, or from the adjoining larger parcel of land from which this ˝ acre was carved.

2. Kiryas Joel will provide the Village of Woodbury with the visual impact analysis that was conducted by its engineering consultant.

3. Although the tanks are well-screened by trees, Woodbury will choose the color that the tanks are painted so as to further mitigate any visual impacts.

4.The Village of Woodbury Building Inspector will be given full access to the site.

Once this agreement is signed by all parties, the stop work order will be lifted and Kiryas Joel will withdraw their ZBA appeal.

This course of action is in the best interests of the Village of Woodbury, avoiding unnecessary legal costs and the inevitable outcome that the water tanks remain but without any of the beneficial agreements noted above. In addition, this process sets a precedent for constructive engagement between the two municipalities whereby Woodbury's concerns are addressed in the first instance, that hopefully will offer an alternative to legal action in the future.




Woodbury Junction / Woodbury Suburban

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