Valatie, happy with sewer deal, awaits K’hook’s OK

VALATIE-Mayor Gary Strevell presented a new municipal agreement with the Village of Kinderhook for his board’s approval at the regular meeting June 12. Kinderhook wants to hook up 35 properties to Valatie’s sewer system with the possibility of connecting more in the future.

“This should be fair to everyone,” Mayor Strevell said of the new agreement, which still has to be approved by the Kinderhook Village Board. He said in the new agreement the hook-up fee and the unit charge–a fee that Valatie residents pay for sewer plant maintenance–would be paid for by grant money that Valatie received for the project rather than by the 35 businesses and homes connecting to the system. Any additional Kinderhook customer connecting to the Valatie system would have to pay both a hook-up fee and the unit charge.

Mayor Strevell said that while the village could have sought higher fees from Kinderhook, “It was more important to make it happen.” The project, which has been under discussion for the last several months, and was first discussed in 2007, when the sewer planet was originally built in Valatie.

The Valatie Board accepted bids for a $3 million upgrade to the sewer plant a special meeting last month and Mayor Strevell said work should start next month. Village Clerk/Treasurer Jason Nastke pointed out that more people using the system will mean reduced sewer the rates for villagers, and more unit fees would help pay off the loan for the upgrades.

Mr. Nastke also he talked about the benefits of working with other municipalities, and bringing businesses back to the center of Kinderhook. “I can’t wait to go into the ‘Dutch’ one day,” he said of the Kinderhook inn and restaurant that closed because there was no access to the sewer service.

The Kinderhook Village Board is spilt over whether to move forward with the project, with three members of the five-member board supporting the sewer project and two opposed. There is also a vocal group of business owners in the area that would be hooked up to the sewer who are against the project based on the costs.

The owner of the Dutch Inn promised the Village of Kinderhook $50,000 toward construction of the sewer extension into the village. Two other business owners have promised $10,000 each and the village has received over $300,000 in state and federal grant money to help pay for the stimated remaining costs of $700,000. Signs around the village saying “It’s OK to flush” and “So sewer me” show there is also a great deal of support for the project.

Waiting for the Kinderhook Board and its residents to make a final decision to approve the project means putting off construction of a sidewalk that would link the adjacent villages. The sidewalk project also is slated to receive state and federal grant money, but the sewer project calls for the new pipe between Valatie and Kinderhook to be laid beneath the sidewalk along Route 9.

Mayor Strevell told that board that “the sidewalk will be in jeopardy” if the municipalities do not start construction on the link this summer or fall. He said that the state money is not guaranteed for another year. The villages were granted state money in 2006 for the sidewalk project.

Also at the meeting:

*Trustee Amy Freinberg-Trufas reported that the Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association, or VERA, is hosting the village-wide tag sale and Hoopla June 30. There will events along Main Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*Mr. Nastke said the village collected over $5,000 in back taxes for the month of May and is waiting on $11,000 in water bills from a commercial user.

*Board members discussed offering 35-gallon rolling garbage cans for villagers through County Waste. The board is still discussing the costs.

*Light poles in the village have been painted and the clean-up in Callan Park is continuing, according to Trustee Freinberg-Trufas.

–The fire company is celebrating its 175th anniversary and the annual countywide Firefighters parade will take place in the village July 28. Fire company President Frank Beven said 40 companies plan to march in the parade along Route 9 and Main Street.

The next village meeting is Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the village hall on Main Street.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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