Holley seeks 21-day cushion for villagers to pay taxes without penalty

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2020 at 11:30 am

(Editor’s Note: This article was updated. An original post said Holley had granted the waiver, allowing the 21 extra days before there is a late fee. However, the village needs permission from the state before the waiver can go into effect.)

HOLLEY – The Village Board voted on Tuesday to ask for state permission to give taxpayers 21 extra days to pay their village taxes without getting hit with a 5 percent penalty.

Village tax bills are due June 30. The board wants to waive the late fee until July 21. Any payments the rest of July will be assessed a 5 percent late charge. In August, the late fee goes up to 6 percent.

“In these times I don’t have problem giving them those 21 days,” said Deputy Mayor Kevin Lynch. “Some of the residents will just be getting back to work.”

The governor needs to allow villages the waiver on the late fees. Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty has sent an email to the governor’s office, requesting the waiver.

The Village Board has approved a budget that would reducing the tax rate from $16.41 to $16.20 per $1,000 of assessed property.

Although the tax rate will be going down, the village will be collecting more in property taxes. The tax levy will go up 2.3 percent or by $20,483 from $887,999 to $908,482.

The tax rate will go down because the village’s tax base grew by about $2 million. The village assessed value is up 3.6 percent or $1,967,513, from $54,098,660 to $56,066,173.

The village fiscal year runs from June 1 to May 31.

In other action at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting:

• The board approved the purchase from Admar of a Kubota Wheeled Skid Steer at a cost of $26,855.29 to be split between the Water, Electric and DPW Departments. The current Skid Steer is 20 years old with more than 3,000 hours.

It is used by to plow sidewalks and also for conduit trenching by the electric department, among its many uses for the village staff.

• Mayor Brian Sorochty updated the board on the village elections. The election was scheduled for June 16 but has been moved by the state to Sept. 15. The state has provided other information on the petition process and the time frames for getting signatures, the mayor said.

• The village and Town of Murray are holding off on deciding about the summer youth program. “We’re taking a wait and see approach,” Sorochty said.

• The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which delayed the start of construction on a $20 million soil cleanup at the former Diaz Chemical site due to Covid-19, expects to start mobilizing construction equipment and work crews later this month.

The EPA is planning to have about 20 personnel on site for phase 2 of the cleanup on Jackson Street.

The EPA has already spent $12.5 million on the cleanup, using money from the Superfund. The EPA has removed buildings, pipes, drums and tanks. Only two warehouses remain from Diaz, which declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site in 2002. The company operated for about 30 years in Holley.

The next phase involves thermal treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater at the site. Besides EPA staff, the phase 2 includes personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors.

The EPA has been working on cleaning up the site for nearly 20 years. With phase 2, the EPA will tackle the contaminated soil on the 5-acre site. The soil poses a threat to the groundwater, EPA officials said.

The EPA and a contractor will drill 600 wells, spaced about 13 to 15 feet apart, and install an underground system where the soil will be heated up. That will remove below-ground contaminates from soil.

Water vapors also will be collected and treated, and then filtered and discharged into the sewer.

Once the contaminant level drops in the soil, about 100 truckloads are expected to be hauled away to a landfill.

The project will be substantially complete in the winter of 2023, according to the EPA timeline. A final layer of topsoil and grass will be added to complete the project.

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