CHATHAM –The Village Board has appointed Peter Volkmann as part-time police chief. Chief Volkmann is also part-time police chief in the Town of Stockport and will remain in that position, as well.
The Chatham board made its decision after adjourning to a closed door session at its regular meeting Thursday, October 10.
Chief Volkmann’s salary from Chatham is $24,960 a year and was scheduled to start work at the Chatham Police Department Wednesday, October 16. The post in Chatham was held by Interim Chief Mark Leggett.
This week Chatham Mayor Tom Curran responded to emailed questions about the appointment, writing that Chief Volkmann will work approximately 20 hours a week in Chatham. That is about the same schedule as the two previous part-time chiefs, he said.
The board also heard presentations last week from the school district and from Dave Knowles of DCK Services. Mr. Knowles discussed the work he would do to supervise the operation of the water and sewer plants. The village workers who currently operate the water and sewer facilities need additional certifications. The fully certified operator previously employed by the village recently resigned to take a similar position in Valatie.
Mr. Knowles, who was a city engineer for Glens Falls, said, “We are not proposing to replace your existing staff but to supplement them.”
Mayor Curran said board members are looking at their options and would get back to Mr. Knowles with a decision.
School district officials attended the meeting to discuss the proposed $13.8-million upgrade and expansion project at the elementary and high school. The school board voted to close the middle school on Woodbridge Avenue by 2015 due to declining enrollment. The district will move all the students to the main campus, with kindergarten through 6th grade students in the Mary E. Dardess Elementary school (MED) and 7th through 12th grades at the high school.
Board members were concerned about the use of the Middle School building after students leave and about the exit from the campus. The main campus has only one access road and is surrounded by train tracks and a swamp.
“We have ways to get out with our safely plan,” said Chatham School District Business Administrator Michael Chudy. He declined to discuss the specifics of an alternative access route, saying that for safety reasons, “No district would ever disclose their plan.”
“It’s always on our minds,” said School Board President Melony Spock, who attended the Village Board meeting.
Ms Spock stressed that the board is going to close the Middle School building as a district school and if this plan to make improvements is voted down by the community the board will have to come up with a new plan. But she said a new plan would not be as good educationally as the ballot proposition that will go before voters in a special election next month.
Mr. Chudy talked about the savings of closing the school, the use of existing reserve funds and the state aid that would be used to pay for the project. The school board has pledged that the funding will have no impact on school district property taxes.
As for the future of the Middle School building, Mr. Chudy said that a committee is being formed to look into uses for the space. The district’s central office will move to the building, and the school will continue to use the fields, the auditorium and the gym. Mr. Chudy also pointed out that the public library will remain in the building.
The vote on the proposed project is November 19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the MED.
Also at the meeting the board:
•Appointed their accounting firm, STAC, to conduct a Justice Court audit for $1,800. The board was asked to do the audit by the state and no one on the board could remember the last time an audit of the village court was done.
•Approved a $2,000 deposit to the state Department of Transportation for the parking lot drainage project behind the businesses on Main Street. Mayor Curran did not know when the village would receive a refund from the state for the deposit
•Increased the pay for the crossing guard to $12 an hour in hopes to interest applicants to the job. The board has advertised for the position of a second guard with no luck
•Appointed Steve Gitto to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Harry Pisila to the Planning Board
•Approved selling the old village ladder truck for $5,100 to a bidder on Auctions International.
The next board meeting will be Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.