Village ponder better water, neater theater

VALATIE — More testing is planned for the village wells after the state Department of Health sent letters to the village saying that drinking water is “under the influence of surface water.”

With that notice in mind the board discussed wells and water meters at the regular meeting Tuesday, December 13. Mayor Gary Strevell and other board members stressed that the water in the village was not dangerous or contaminated. “The water is as good today as it was yesterday,” said the mayor.

An employee of Delaware Engineering, the company that has been working with the village on water and wastewater projects, plans to conduct more tests, including one that sends a camera into Well #2 to look at the wall casing.

The board also talked about water meters and the claims from some residents that they are being overcharged for water because the meters are faulty. Mayor Strevell said that it costs the village $150 to have a meter tested and most of the time such tests show that the meter is not at fault but the property has a leak the owner didn’t know about.

Village Attorney Bill Better said he will draft a village law stating that property owners who ask to have the meter tested must pay the $150 if the meter is found to be functioning properly.

Mayor Strevell stressed that the $150 covers only the testing of the meter not the hours needed to replace the meter or the $300 it costs to purchase a new one.

Though he said it was not an issue every water billing cycle, he did say there were “repeat offenders,” who claim their meters are broken; and it is an issue for the village Water Department. If a meter breaks, he said, it generally reads less water, not more, running through the user’s system.

At this week’s meeting the board also debated the placement of a large containment trailer the community theater is using as extra storage and has parked on Merwin Lane. “The trailer is an eyesore,” said Trustee Amy Freinberg-Trufa. Trustee Jennifer Furey said she’s seen children climbing on it and was worried for their safety.

The community members have been upgrading the theater building on Main Street for several years. The village owns the building and leases it to the non-profit theater board that runs it.

Last year bathrooms were added after the group raised the money to pay for them. Neal Baillargeon, president of the theater’s board, said the theater has completed a project to wire lighting in the main hall and will have a railing installed in the spring along the ramp that leads to the newly rebuilt entrance.

He said adding an addition for storage to the building would be cost prohibitive right now and the trailer is needed for sets and replacement seats the group salvaged from a theater in Troy to use to replace old seats in the theater. “You’re talking a million bucks,” he said of the addition.

“It’s a dangerous situation for children,” Trustee Furey said of the trailer. She also insisted that because of the trailer, the value of homes had gone down in that neighborhood. “It’s not okay if it’s not aesthetic, (and) if it’s bringing down values,” she said.

The Village Board plans to meet with the theater board to discuss a solution to the issue. Trustees have suggested that the trailer be moved to village land by the wastewater treatment plant, an accesses road off of Route 9, were the village has another trailer used for storage.

The next village meeting will be Tuesday January 10 at 7:30pm in the village hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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