CHATHAM–The Village Board has approved raising both the water and sewer rates each by 5%.
At the regular meeting last week the board said the higher rates will take effect with the March bill and are not reflected on the bills that village residents will receive in January.
“We’ve been running a little bit in the red with our water and sewer,” said Mayor Tom Curran at the December 12 meeting, adding, “5% was a realistic number to at least get us back in the black.” He also mentioned the debt service coming due soon on the major sewer plant upgrades.
The board will continue discussing water and sewer rates in the coming months. Board member and Water and Sewer Commissioner Adrienne Morrell said the increase will help pay off the debt and then the board can look at restructuring the rates. The board will hold public meetings on the rates structures early next year.
The board also heard from Police Chief Peter Volkmann about enforcing parking laws, like overnight parking on Main Street, and moving cars off the street during snow storms. Chief Volkmann said the parttime officers have been putting courtesy warnings on cars since the wintertime overnight parking ban has not been strongly enforced in years.
“We shouldn’t just put tickets out since we haven’t enforced [the laws]; it’s not fair,” he told the board.
He also said that officers have been talking to residents and business owners while walking around the village. “We are getting much more proactive with the community,” Chief Volkmann said.
The chief is also trying to contact former parttime officers who no longer work in the village to ask them to submit official resignations.
“Albany thinks we have 30 officers and we only have about a dozen,” said Mayor Curran.
The board accepted the resignation of former officer Eric Colon, effective as of last October 28.
Village Administrator Barbara Henry told the board the village will receive over $25,000 from an energy audit that uncovered overbilling for street lights the village owns. She said she was still waiting to hear about an audit of the phone systems.
Board members also looked at the village budget with Ms. Henry since this is the halfway point of the fiscal year, which runs from June to through May. “It’s great to be half way through and have spent half our money,” said Mayor Curran.
Also at the meeting the board:
•Adopted a motion to allow Fire Chief Paul Pratt to spend $5,000 from the fire budget to get new pagers for members.
•Heard Chief Pratt say that Santa Claus will be at the Chatham Fire House on December 21.
•Approved a new health insurance plan for one year for village employees. “This provides similar coverage to we have now,” said Mayor Curran of the two fulltime employees and two retirees who are covered.
•Discussed a barrier between the railroad tracks and the parking behind Main Street. The lot has now been covered with gravel and graded, creating several more parking spaces for businesses owners and employees at the shops than previously existed. CSX, the railroad company that owns the tracks, wants a more substantial barrier in place by spring. The board will continue to discuss the barrier options. The village has a $50,000 matching grant from the Ellsworth Kelly fund for improvements to the lot.
The next village meeting will be January 9 at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.
To contact Emilia Teasdale email .