Kinderhook village ponders new road repairs as old debt ends

KINDERHOOK — The village held a public information meeting last week to discuss a proposal for road repair work on Hudson Street and Albany Avenue. Representatives from Spectra Engineering, Architecture and Surveying were at the meeting with preliminary plans for the work, which would cost $1 million.

At the Village Hall meeting Wednesday, November 17, Jim Dunham, a member of the Albany Avenue Committee, talked to the 30 village residents who attended the meeting about the history of the project and why the committee is suggesting the major work. “The village has had a continuing program of street improvement projects,” he said. Since 1996, the municipality has resurfaced and repaired 27 streets, spending an average of $72,000 a year. Mr. Dunham said that in 1990 the state did repairs on Route 9, a state road, and the village funded drainage and work on adjacent village roads. To pay for those upgrades, the village borrowed $1 million using a 20-year bond. The last payment on that debt will be made this year, and Mr. Dunham said the committee thought it better to wait until that 1990 work was paid off before starting a new project.

“We realize this is a bad time to be proposing such a project,” he said. But he said that fixing and widening the road in the business district of the village was important, and that the water main under Albany Avenue, which would be replaced in this project, is 90 years old. “We’ve gotten good use out of that, it’s time to replace it,” Mr. Dunham said.

The village part of the project would run from Sylvester Street to Route 9 on Hudson Street and on Albany Avenue from Route 9 to Sunset Avenue.

To pay for this proposed project, he said the village could take out a 15-year bond at an average payment of $98,000 a year. He stressed that interest rates are better now than they were when the village borrowed in 1990. He also pointed out that the village could limit its repairs to Hudson Avenue, which would cost $200,000 and require only the use of a bond anticipation note.

If officials decide to recommend the whole project, village voters will have to approve the bond though a referendum.

Jason Sableski, the civil engineer from Spectra, said that plans for the project are in very early stages. The Village Board would have to approve any final plans for the project.

Mayor Carol Weaver, who attended the meeting, said the board would be looking into what it can do with regard to the borrowing and that nothing will be decided until 2011.

Village residents at the meeting asked questions about sidewalks, construction and cost. Villager William Murphy asked that if the plans call for tearing up the street, could officials consider burying the power lines that cut through the trees on the street. He trimming of branches made Kinderhook look like a village unfriendly to trees.

Mr. Dunham said village officials have looked into this issue before and that it was expensive, but he said the committee would look into the matter again.

Other residents talked about worries they had about the new sidewalks and flooding on the streets. Mr. Sableski said this project will take care of any flooding issues. As for sidewalks, he said the project this would even them out and there would be openings made where driveways enter the street. He said that the whole project shouldn’t take longer than a year.

At the end of Mr. Sableski’s presentation, Mr. Dunham said that the cost of the total project would mean, based on current taxes, a homeowner with a property assessed at $300,000 would pay $57 more a year in taxes.

The committee left information sheets for residents that include a place to write comments. The board meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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