VALATIE–Newly elected Mayor Diane Argyle presided over her first village meeting at the Martin H. Glynn School building Tuesday, April 9. At the annual organization meeting, the new mayor’s first act was to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees created when Jennifer Kolb resigned March 30. Outgoing mayor Gray Strevell had appointed Lisa Hill to fill the vacancy, but by law, the new mayor can appoint someone else to the seat.
Mayor Argyle received three applications for the position and selected Angelo Nero as trustee. Mr. Nero, who also serves as a county coroner, was sworn in by Village Clerk Melissa Martino-Morin saying that he wanted to help during this transition. He added that the new Village Board has “a lot of work to do.” Mr. Nero was serving on the village Planning Board, but has resigned that post.
Mayor Argyle made other changes to village appointments during the organization meeting, including appointing newly elected Trustee Frank Bevens deputy mayor. Robert Fitzsimmons will be the new village attorney replacing William Better. Dominick C. Lizzi was appointed village historian, a position that he held until recently.
Mr. Lizzi thanked the board and the mayor, noting that Ms. Argyle was the first woman in the history of the village to serve in the position. Mr. Lizzi also reminded the board that the 100th Anniversary of Martin H. Glynn’s inauguration as governor is coming up later this year.
The mayor did not make any specific appointments to the Local Development Corporation (LDC), but she did say that she has spoken to LDC President Jason Nastke, who has agreed to transfer control over several loans from the HUD, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, back to the Village Board. The low interest HUD loans are intended for building improvements.
The mayor was unclear on the size or number of the HUD loans, but she felt they were best controlled by the Village Board and not the LDC. “We have a lot of smart people up here,” she said.
Mayor Argyle stated that Mr. Nastke and the LDC have been working on updating their reporting to the state. “I want to give them time to straighten out their own mess,” she said.
The board also discussed the preliminary village budget. Mayor Argyle plans to lower her salary from $7,500 to $6,000 for the next budget year. She offered to use the difference to increase the salaries of the trustees, but all refused the increase and asked that she put the money back into the budget.
The board scheduled a budget workshop meting for April 16 and a budget hearing on April 30. Both meetings will be at 7 pm at the Marin H. Glynn School building and are open to the public.
Mayor Argyle shared a concern with the board over building inspections on rental properties, which are required by law with every change in tenant. Current law requires landlords pay a $10 fee for the inspection of a rental unit, but there is no penalty for non-compliance. The mayor, who is a landlord of residential rental properties in the village, said she’d like to raise the inspection fee and impose a fine for non-compliance. The board will discuss the issue further at a later time.
The Village Board is also making several changes to improve public communications including updating the village website; board meetings will now be recorded on video.
The next regular Board meeting will be Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a special joint meeting with the Town of Kinderhook Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. to discuss the move to the Martin H. Glynn school building.