By Paul Labas
Each year in January, I try to provide an update to our constituents concerning the State of the Village. As mayor, I work with the Village Board and our Department Heads to maintain and improve our community. We strive to consistently make Granville a better place, while keeping taxes and rates low and affordable. 2022 was a busy and productive year in and around the Village. Here are some of the highlights:
*Last spring, the DPW worked closely with the NYS DOT to complete the repaving and infrastructure work on Main Street. This is seen as a major improvement.
*Last summer and early fall, the DPW and County worked to complete the Church Street Bridge replacement, including new sidewalks, streetlights, water mains, utility connections, etc. The finished product is seen as a substantial upgrade to the prior structure there that had been damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
*I worked closely with Town Supervisor Matt Hicks and the Village Board in recruiting representatives from Amazon to locate into the former Manchester Wood facility. The placement of this Distribution Center locally is seen as a major driver for employment, bringing many good paying jobs to the area. In addition, it stands to reason that Granville should see some nice opportunities for related retail and service industry upon Amazon commencing operations. This is seen as a big win for Granville and should serve us well for many years to come! Substantial upgrades to the facility are being completed thru the winter, with a goal of having the facility operational by late spring.
*The Village utilized some of the funds received through the ARPA program to replace sidewalks from Veterans Park to Potter Avenue, as well as a new walkway in front of Tractor Supply. Additional sidewalks will be considered for replacement in the coming fiscal year as well.
*Last spring, the Village advanced through the Semi-final round of a highly selective Federal Grant for Recreative and Economic Development in Rural Communities (RERC). Last summer, the Village was named a finalist and later advised that they were one of just 25 communities nationwide to receive an award through this program. The Village has formed a steering committee including local business owners, the Chamber of Commerce, Pember Library, Slate Valley Museum, Village & Town Officials. This group has been meeting independently as well as with Federal Representatives from the EPA, Parks & Rec and Other Agencies to formulate a Master Plan to develop our recreational and cultural resources in hopes of spurring additional economic opportunities on Main Street and in the business corridor. We hope that this will allow us to bring social & recreational opportunities to the community through improvements on the Rail Trail, in Mettowee Park, on the Mettowee River, and in and around the cultural campus that includes the Pember and Slate Valley Museum. Stay tuned for positive developments here.
*In addition to the sidewalks above, the Village has invested ARPA monies in a new Training Facility for the Granville Engine & Hose Company ($25K), upgrades to the furnace at the Slate Valley Museum ($6K), Roof Work and Carpet Restoration at the Pember Library, and upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Each of these investments should serve our community well.
*In the 2022-23 Budget, the Board worked hard to control expenses and we were able to approve a budget that contained a 0% tax increase and no Water/Sewer Rent increases. This was the first time in more than 25 years that the Village was able to accomplish this. I am also pleased to report that for the 2023-24 Budget Cycle, I will be presenting another Budget with NO TAX INCREASE or WATER/SEWER RENT INCREASE. In these times of substantial inflation and high fuel, energy, and grocery costs, hopefully this represents some welcome news for Granville.
*The Village DPW expanded its work with the Holiday Decorating Committee to adorn the Business District and Veterans Park with decorations during the Holidays. This project has become a great source of community pride and brought smiles to many throughout the Holiday Season. The Village also worked with representatives from Telescope and the Tractor Parade to expand and improve this event.
*The Village reinitiated local service with the DMV through their satellite office at the Village Municipal Center. The DMV is available for the convenience of our constituents on the first Wednesday of each month from 9:30am-2:30pm.
*The Village’s fiscal stress score dropped from 14.2 to 0 as of 5/31/22. In 2017-18 the Village’s fiscal stress score was 59.6 and we were the second-most fiscally stressed Village in the State. With consistent effort, the Board has focused on cost controls and business development to decrease expenses, build revenues, and build reserves. The fiscal state of the Village is now strong, and it continues to improve.
*We saw the re-opening of Scarlotta’s Car Hop through the Barlow family, the opening of Tommy’s Place on Main Street, Miley E’s Pizza on West Main, Edward Jones on Quaker Street, Twisted Scissors Hair Salon on Church Street, and the Opal Rose Company on East Main Street. 2022 was a good year for new & established businesses locally.
What will 2023 hold? No one can know for sure, but the future looks bright for Granville. The Village will continue to invest ARPA monies in broad-based projects that benefit the community. The Amazon Distribution Center will be opening this spring or early summer. Recreational, Social and Cultural opportunities will abound as we formulate our plans through the RERC grant. Taxes will remain low and stable. And our Departments will continue to work diligently to protect, maintain, improve, and serve you well.
If we can assist you with a problem or concern, please don’t hesitate to contact the Village offices at your convenience. Thank you for your continued support.