Villages cut sewer deal, but it’s not done yet

KINDERHOOK–The village boards of Valatie and Kinderhook have finally settled on the language of an agreement for 35 properties in Kinderhook to hook-up to the Valatie sewer plant. The two boards passed resolutions at a joint meeting Monday night after months of negotiations over the details.

The Village of Kinderhook will now hold a referendum vote Monday, August 13 in which voters will be asked to approve the village plan to borrow $182,000 to build the infrastructure needed to connect the 35 properties in the business district along the main streets in the center of the village to the Valatie sewer treatment plant off Route 9.

The total cost of the project is $837,000, but the village has received two grants and several private donations to fund the project, leaving only $127,000 in projected costs to be paid for by loans. Kinderhook Mayor Carol Weaver said at the July 30 meeting that after discussing the costs with the village consulting engineer, Clark Engineering, and with village attorney Robert Fitzsimmons, the board decided to borrow a larger amount than the minimum required. The term of the borrowing is 20 years.

“Hopefully we’re not going to have to use the whole $182,000,” the mayor said at the meeting. She said the village will not know the interest rate until after the referendum, but the debt service will be paid by all village residents, not just the 35 properties hooking-up the sewer.

The issue must be determined by referendum because only three of the five members of the board–Mayor Weaver and Trustees Brain Murphy and Rich Phillips, voted in favor of borrowing the money in April. Trustees Dale Leiser and Robert Puckett voted against the project, and they both voted against signing the agreement with Valatie. Mr. Leiser voted in favor of having the referendum while Mr. Puckett voted against, saying he had some issues with agreement.

The so-called intermunicipal agreement would result in the owners of the 35 properties in the district paying $128 in yearly unit chargers and a sewer rate of over $8 per 1,000 gallons, though Mayor Weaver stressed those rates will fluctuate depending on how many units are on the whole Valatie system and the rate for sewer usage for each quarter. She used the example of the Dutch Inn, which would be on the system and is currently closed, making it one unit. When it opens, she said, it will be charged for 12 units and its payment may lower the unit cost for the other Valatie and Kinderhook residents using the system.

Kinderhook and Valatie received a shared services grant that was to be split between the two municipalities for the project. One of the conditions of this agreement was that Valatie give its half of the grant to the Kinderhook to help with the cost of the sewer project.

Another part major part of the agreement states that the 35 properties in Kinderhook village hooking up to the sewer plant as part of this project will be treated like Valatie users, with the same sewer rates and unit charges. The unit charge will be used to pay for a $3.5-million upgrade currently underway at the Valatie plant.

The next step in the project is the vote next month. Mr. Fitzsimmons said that since it is a special election, absentee ballots are not allowed. “That’s the way the New York State law reads,” he said at the meeting, stressing it was not a village law.

The election will be held at the Kinderhook Village Hall on Route 9 from noon to 9 p.m. August 13. Letters will be sent to all village residents, said Mayor Weaver, explaining the project and specific letters will be sent to the owners of the 35 properties explaining the unit and sewer chargers.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .



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