Valatie seeks fair play on Cleanup Day

VALATIE — The Village Board has scheduled the Fall Village-wide Clean-Up Day for Saturday October 9. Village residents will be able to sign up in advanced at Village Hall to obtain a pass permitting them to bring one pickup truck full of personal waste to a dumpster on River Street.

At the Tuesday, September 14 meeting trustees expressed concern about Highway Department employees picking up refuse from senior citizens, a service the department has offered in the past. Village Clerk Donna Schneider told the board that in recent years the village employees have made over 40 trips to pick up garbage for local seniors during the cleanup.

Trustee Paul Raihofer said that younger residents might be adding their garbage to the seniors’ loads. “Everyone knows a senior,” he said.

After much discussion, the board decided to schedule a special senior pickup Monday, October 11, Columbus Day. Seniors in the village will have to register at Village Hall if they would like the Highway Department to pick up materials at their homes.

The board also discussed the Columbia County Sherriff’s substation that will be moving into the American Legion Hall on Main Street. “The logistics are still being worked out” said Mayor Gary Strevell.

The installation of lights and work on creating dedicated parking spaces in the hall’s parking lot are proceeding, but no firm date has been set for the opening of the substation.

Diane Argyle of the Parks Department reported on efforts to create walking trails in county. The project is now being coordinated with the Towns of Kinderhook, Stuyvesant and Stockport with a goal of creating a series of trails that will eventually connect the three towns. Ms. Argyle announced that group was awarded a grant for a feasibility study through the Greenway Conservancy. The Town of Kinderhook applied for the grant, which was award to a committee representing all three towns. She said there will be a public meeting in October in Stuyvesant, where a map of the planned trail system will be presented.

The trail will run along the rail bed of an old trolley line. Parts of the rail bed are now owned by National Grid, which Ms. Argyle said is holding up the process by not agreeing to transfer the land.

Mayor Strevell suggested looking into agreements that may have been made by Niagara Mohawk, a company purchased by National Grid several years ago. National Grid would have to honor any agreements Niagara Mohawk made to give the land to the towns for the trail.

Also this week, Mayor Strevell reviewed how the village keeps its accounts and pays the bills. The Town of Kinderhook is dealing with fallout from the alleged embezzlement of town funds by a former bookkeeper. Mayor Strevell said the village numbers all its invoices, officials review bank statements and have an accountant review it all.  “We write and print real checks,” he said. The village also has a separate “receiving” account for electronic transfers.

State and local law enforcement officials and the state comptroller say that the problem for the town, which involves hundreds of thousands of dollars, stemmed at least in part from the use of the bookkeeper’s credit card to handle some town finances.

The next Village Board meeting will be Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

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