By Mayor Paul Labas
I would like to extend greetings for a Happy New Year to all constituents as I present this year’s State of the Village address.
While 2020 certainly held its fair share of challenges for us, we hope that 2021 will bring us relief from the pandemic and plenty of good days, good times, and good memories.
The village continues to build on the improvement in its financial condition. In 2019-20, the village Board balanced all budgets, and we saw surpluses in the general, water and sewer funds. Our stress score decreased further, and reserves increased across the board.
For 2021-2022, my budget will propose no increases in water or sewer rents for residential customers, and a tax increase of less than 1%. This will be the first time in 10 plus years where there has been no water or sewer rent increase for residents, and a tax increase of < 1%.
Since my election as mayor, the village has shown a surplus each year and all budgets have been balanced. In 2021, all services will be maintained as we will continue to focus on cost control. This represents some good news for all of us.
In 2020, we upgraded all village streetlights to LED technology. While this did involve an initial investment of capital, we will recover that investment in 10 months or less and see a permanent decrease of 45% in street-lighting costs going forward.
The new fixtures also provide warm and more focused light throughout the village. This upgrade is better for the environment as well.
The village continues to work with the Great Meadow FCU to expand and improve the Holiday Decorating Program. Last year, we added 29 new buildings, several clusters of trees, and additional swags over the roadway to promote a driving loop for everyone to enjoy.
Light shows continue in Veterans Park nightly through Jan. 18. Thanks to all the volunteers who participate annually, and to our DPW for their support as well. This program seems to get better every year and is a source of pride for many in our community.
Property seems to be selling briskly in the village, with many sales coming in above assessed valuation. The inventory of property for sale is also at historic lows. These are good signs.
Another positive element that helps to make Granville better is our code enforcement officer, Curt Pedone. He has worked tirelessly to enforce our local legislation, especially our property maintenance law, to aid in making Granville a brighter, safer place to live.
Our police, fire, and rescue squad personnel deserve kudos for their efforts in serving the public well throughout the pandemic. Many volunteer their time and talents to aid those in need. I would like to thank all our front-line personnel, paid and unpaid, for their dedicated efforts during some difficult times in 2020.
I would also like to thank each of you for supporting our local businesses throughout these difficult times. Shopping locally keeps our money circulating here and provides sales tax dollars to the county and local municipalities.
Plus, this is an important lifeline for our friends and neighbors navigating some difficult waters. Where possible, please continue to shop and eat locally in 2021.
In 2021, we expect that the Church Street bridge will be replaced (my office has been working with the design team regularly), and as of this date, State Route 149 (Quaker Street) remains on the schedule to be repaved. These improvements may cause some minor inconvenience, but they will strengthen our infrastructure and be a source of pride in the years to come.
Lastly, 2021 will represent the 100th anniversary of Telescope’s presence here in Granville. Over the last hundred years, it seems safe to say that no other company has done more for Granville.
Telescope is planning a major celebration for the fall, and the village will do whatever it can to participate and to congratulate them for their special role in the community. The saying goes: ”What is good for Telescope is good for Granville.”
In my mind, there is a lot of truth to this statement. I would like to thank Telescope for their caring and steadfast commitment to Granville throughout the years and wish them all the best in their second century of service.
The State of the Village is strong and growing stronger. Thank you for your continued support and may God keep each of yours safe, healthy and happy in the coming year.