KINDERHOOK–The Kinderhook Town Board voted to increase the town’s compost dumping fee five-fold — from $10 to $50 — at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night. Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said that even with the increase the town still expects to lose about $10,000 by operating the compost site near the intersection of Route 203 and Merwin Road.
“Last year it cost about $17,000 to run the site, but that does not include the Highway Department’s time, which probably makes the total about $20,000,” Mr. Grattan said.
Mr. Grattan said last year the town sold just over 200 permits at $10 each, which covered only about a tenth of the operating costs.
The compost site is open on Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from April 1 through the first snow of the season. Residents who pay the fee can drop off leaves, brush, tree trimmings and other clippings for the town to grind.
The board was divided 3 to 2 in the vote, with Supervisor Grattan, council members Michael Kipp and Patsy Leader in favor of the increase, and Glenn Smith and Peter Bujanow against.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Bujanow both said they were already hearing complaints from constituents about the unreasonableness of the fee increase. Currently, the town Highway Department picks up brush curbside on town roads, with the exception of the Village of Kinderhook, whose residents make up the majority of the compost site users.
“I would like to look at a more equitable distribution of the fee,” Mr. Smith said. “The Village of Kinderhook residents are paying an inordinate amount of money for the use of it.”
In response, Councilman Kipp said raising the fee is the fairest course of action for all taxpayers.
“Right now it’s not fair for town taxpayers, with very little contribution and revenue coming from the compost site users,” Mr. Kipp said. “In my opinion, we need to raise the fee to offset the huge expenses.”
In other business:
*The board approved the town’s summer 2011 recreation schedule and fees. Offerings include swimming lessons, tennis instruction, karate classes, and kickball and basketball leagues for students. Adults can join volleyball and basketball leagues, as well as participate in a weekly 5K “Fun Run.”
*Councilman Bujanow was appointed the new coordinator for the Adopt-A-Highway Program. The program will allow local groups to obtain garbage bags and reflective vests for volunteer garbage pick-ups along town roads.
*The board discussed, but did not vote on, hiring three temporary workers for the town. Supervisor Grattan suggested hiring a part-time clerk, on a trial basis, to help with court calls. Mr. Grattan and Mr. Bujanow proposed hiring two summer workers at $10 an hour for various projects on town property, such as painting, weeding, mowing and all-around maintenance.
*Mr. Grattan announced the town will be receiving more than $42,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help offset costs related to the December 26, 2010 snowstorm.