CHATHAM—The Village Board will hold a public hearing on the tentative budget this Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial. All board members received copies of the annual budget proposal at the Water and Sewer meeting April 22, although the spending plan has not yet been released to the public.
The board also passed a motion that acknowledged the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Charter Communications. The company, which supplies cable TV service to the village and other parts of the county, filed for protection from creditors late in March because it was unable to meet its multi-billion-dollar debt obligations. Board Clerk Carol Simmons said that the board’s motion was a formality, and Mayor Paul Boehme assured board member what cable users “are not going to lose their service.”
State roadwork at the railroad crossing on Main Street near the intersection with Route 295 will continue throughout the month. The village is also planning its own drainage work to coincide with the state work along Route 295. The village water and sewer commissioner, Trustee George Grant, said that after this work, 85% of the pipes in the village will have been replaced in the last 30 years.
The board also heard from Gail Wolczsanski, the village historian, and Leonard MacDonald about a Restore NY Grant that the Chatham Historical Society is planning to apply. The grant would fund work on Blinn-Pulver farmhouse on Route 66 across from the shopping plaza. The historical hopes the grant will net the group as much as $1.6 million, but the application must be filed by a municipality. The two supporters of restoring the badly deteriorated brick house came to the meeting to ask the village trustees to name the Village Board as the lead organization for the grant.
Mr. MacDonald, who called the historic farmhouse “the gateway to the community,” is the project manager of the renovations. He said that there is a 10% matching fund requirement in the grant, but the village but that money has already been provided through “work in kind.” Local merchants and construction companies have already donated their time and skills to the project for tasks that include some temporary roofing work, scaffolding and masonry, which count toward the 10%.
“This is the closest we’ve come to getting the money to save the building,” said Ms. Wolczanski.
But Mayor Boehme worried that if the matching funds are not already met by the Historical Society the village does not have the money to cover them. “We don’t have any extra in the budget,” he said.
After more discussion and assurances from Ms. Wolczsanski and Mr. MacDonald, the board agreed to apply for the Restore NY Grant.
“I think it’s great for the village to partner with non-profits,” said Trustee Lael Locke. Many board members agreed it was important to save the historic house.
The next village meeting will be the budget hearing April 30; the next regular village meeting will be Thursday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.
‘This is the closest we’ve come to getting the money to save the building.’
Chatham village historian