VALATIE–The Village Board has decided to change the times of the regular meetings. Board meetings will now be held at 7 instead of 7:30 p.m. starting with the next meeting November 12.
At the October 8 board meeting the board also talked about creating a special committee to look into water and sewer rates and the unit charges that system users pay for maintenance and debt service for past upgrade projects on the plant.
Mayor Diane Argyle said the both the project manager for the sewer plant upgrades and an accountant the village brought in to look at the village finances said the rates need to be reviewed, suggesting that sewer rates are too high and water rates too low.
“The water fund is completely depleted,” Mayor Argyle told the board. She said the sewer fund was also low, and unit charges would need to be looked at to augment those funds. She blamed the empty water fund on expenses for drilling new wells in the village after officials learned that surface water might be seeping into village wells in a process called infiltration.
Mayor Argyle said earlier in the meeting the board would need to look into investing in filtration system for village water, which would be an expensive project. “We need to come up with the funding for that,” she told the board.
Currently a major upgrade on the village sewer plant is being completed, a project that would be funded with a 0% interest loan and grant money. Mayor Argyle suggested the board could find another $600,000 in grants with the help of Delaware Engineering, the company managing the sewer plant upgrades. The money would pay for screens at the sewer plant that would help with clogging issues in the system.
When asked by board member Frank Bevens how that would affect payments once the village starts paying off the loan, she estimated it would raise the annual debt service from $56,000 to about $76,000.
“We are already carrying a pretty heavy debt load,” she told the board.
No decisions were made about borrowing more money, but the board did create a committee of board members and the mayor to look into the water and sewer rates.
Mayor Argyle said she would also have to call a special board meeting to adjust the 2012-13 budget, a spending plan administered by the previous village administration. Only one member of the current Village Board was on the board last year.
The mayor said that based on information from the village accountant and the review of last year’s budget, certain budget lines were overdrawn. Village budgets follow a fiscal year that runs from June through May. She mentioned road and sidewalk work on Williams Street and repairs to the Valatie Community Theatre, which the village owns, as lines that needed to be amended.
“They went through a lot of money last year,” Ms. Argyle said of the pervious board.
No date was set for that special meeting. She did also point out that adjustments need to be made the current budget to cover the cost of building insurance.
In other business the board:
•Changed the date of the Village-wide Clean-up Day to Saturday, October 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Village residents must register in person or by email with the village clerk and bring their trash to Dumpsters on River Street.
•Approved spending $560 for a drop box outside the village office so that villagers can leave their water and sewer bills for the clerk when the office is closed.
The next village meeting will be Tuesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .