Village takes action as water tower ages

CHATHAM – The Village Board has approved hiring Utility Services Company from Georgia for $5,900 to drain the water tower and look for weak sections and erosion in the tank. The decision came at a special meeting Thursday, August 22 to discuss that issue and to talk about the village contract with unionized workers.

Mayor Tom Curran said that Village Engineer Pat Prendergast contacted companies to ask them to bid on the work. The board did not release a request for proposals to the local newspapers since Mr. Prendergast advised the mayor that there were no local companies that offered this specialized service and Village Administrator Barbara Henry said that it was within village code for the board not to advertise for bids at the amount of money available for the work.

Mayor Curran said he did not know when work would start, but said at the meeting, “The clock is ticking.

“We have to do something,” he said to the board, adding that the water tower is between 30 and 40 years old and in need of repair. “I think not to do something is crazy,” he said.

The company also must patch any weak spots in the tank, but the mayor said the board first needs to know the extent of the wear before accepting bids on the repairs. He told the board, “We need to assess the tank before we do anything.”

Mayor Curran told the board a separate project to reline the sewer pipes in the village is moving forward and residents will notice work trucks and manhole covers opened on village streets.

In another matter, the DPW has added three parking spots for handicapped drivers on Park Row, Depot Square and in the municipal parking lot next to the Tracy Memorial.

When Mr. Curran asked about adding a fourth handicapped parking spot on Main Street, Trustee Lenore Packet suggested putting the spot back where it was before the major state road work was done on Main Street, a project that removed the special parking spot.

The old spot of in front of Ralph’s Pretty Good Café is not far from the corner of Main Street and Park Row. The mayor asked Ms. Packet, who is the Streets Commissioner on the board, to walk down Main Street with him to make sure that it the best place for it.

On the other item for last week’s special meeting, the mayor announced that the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), which most full-time and part-time workers are entitled to join, voted to reject the collective bargaining agreement that Village Board members signed at their last meeting August 8. The agreement went down, with two votes for the agreement and seven opposed.

Mayor Curran said that not only was he surprised the members didn’t approve the contract but so was the CSEA union representative, who is now on vacation and will not be back to continue negotiations until after Labor Day.

“There was nothing that was asked for in the negotiations that wasn’t given except greater raises,” said Ms. Henry. The contract included flexibility with holidays and a $2 pay raise for police and water treatment operator.

Neither Ms. Henry nor Mayor Curran knew what will happen if the contract if it is voted down. Ms. Henry said the board will have to wait until the representative is back to discuss the issue further.

The next Village Board meeting will be Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial.



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