Chatham floats plan for higher water and sewer rates

CHATHAM–Water and sewer rates will be going up for villagers, and the board wants to discuss the issue with residents at a special meeting on Thursday, September 26 at 6:30 p.m. Board members will also hold a public hearing that night for a new local law authorizing non-village residents to hold non-elected, appointed positions in Chatham.

The board set the times for the meeting and the public hearing at their regular board meeting September 12 and they discussed raising the rates for parking tickets in the village at Thursday’s meeting.

After discussing the park ticket issue with Interim Police Chief Mark Leggett, the board decided to do more research before raising the $10 fee for staying in a marked parking spot longer than 2 hours. Tickets for other volitions, like blocking a fire hydrant or driveway, are more expansive. Parking in a handicap spot draws a fine of $110.

Mayor Tom Curran said that he was looking at ways to deter merchants from parking in spots that could be used for costumers and also making sure people leave their spots in the municipal lot after the two-hour time limit is up. Chief Leggett suggested a parking meter machine, which prints a ticket that drivers can put in their windows to show they paid for a certain amount of time to park in the space. “It would be fair,” said the chief.

The system is used in Albany, Troy and New York City among other locations.

Board member Adrienne Morrell said she would look into the issue.

As for water rates, Mayor Curran said the village faces the need for major upgrades. The board just approved spending $5,900 to a company that will inspect the water tower for weak spots. The village sewer plant is also undergoing upgrades.

“We need to start a conversation and let everyone know what we’re dealing with,” said Mayor Curran of the water issues. The Village Board has been working with Delaware Engineering, a firm that specializes in municipal water and sewer issues. Mayor Curran said that Delaware came up with a list that included several projects that could cost millions of dollars.

Board member Lenore Packet asked that water and sewer department head Ed Czyzewski and Village Engineer Pat Prendergast come to the informational meeting and together come up with a list of the projects that need to be done most immediately.

The mayor said rate increases will be based on the debt village taxpayers will pay for the cost of the projects. The current rate structure is not adequate to pay for the system, he said. “We are running in a deficit mode, spending more than we’re bringing in.”

Village Attorney Alexander Betke said the board may need to change local law on how the rates are set. But he said the law can’t be changed until the board decides what the new rates will be. “It comes down to you guys making a decision,” he told the board.

The new public law that the board will discuss at the September 26 meeting will deal with the issue of hiring people who live outside the village to work for the village. The mayor said the current and former village clerks, and the candidates for police chief do not live in the village. Mr. Curran said the board was creating a local law to address with the needs of the village.

The meeting also included notification that board will be interviewing candidates for part-time police chief at the beginning of October.

The information session about the water issues will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial, followed by the public hearing at 7:30 p.m. and a special board meeting.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .




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