State funds flow to village sewer project

KINDERHOOK – The sewer project in the Village of Kinderhook now has a contractor and an email from the state’s Office of Community Renewal (OCR) saying that agency is increasing the grant money to cover construction costs.

The board passed a motion to award the contract for work to lowest bidder on the project at the regular meeting February 12. Speaking to the board from Florida over the web voice and video service Skype, Mayor Carol Weaver shared an email from Ashely Lavigne, a representative from OCR, saying that $295,000 would be added to the grant the village was already receiving for the project. Sewer lines will be installed in the business district of the village, also known as B1, and property owners in that part of town will be hooked up to the Valatie Wastewater Treatment Plant. The village is paying for the project with the OCR money, as well as a federal grant, some private donations and about $231,000 in borrowed funds. It will provide sewer service to more than 35 properties.

The contract will be awarded to Casale Construction Services, Inc., for $826,574, the lowest of the 10 bids on the project. Clark Engineering & Surveying, P.C. of New Lebanon, which designed the project, looked at the bidders’ references and recommended accepting the bid from Casale, said village Project Manager Jim Dunham at the board meeting.

Mr. Dunham also told the board that Clark is now a subsidiary of the Ryan Biggs Engineering firm in Clifton Park, which has worked with the village before.

Trustee Rich Philips was concerned about awarding the contract before the board had an official letter from OCR that the extra grant money was coming in. “You are confident that that is legal and binding?” he asked the mayor about the email from Ms. Lavigne. Mayor Weaver said she would ask for a letter but the email said that the OCR board has approved the increase, which would make the grant a total of $580,000.

The mayor also said the state Department of State is filing paperwork to give the village more money for the project. “I have a feeling [Ms. Lavigne] is going to hold out until they hear from the Department of State,” Mayor Weaver said, telling her board that OCR will reduce the increased grant amount by the same amount the village receives from the state Department of State, which could be as much as $40,000.

The OCR money comes with a requirement that 37 new jobs be created due to this project and 51% of them have to be low to moderate income jobs. Ms. Weaver said there will be paperwork for each employer and new worker to fill out and suggested the village hire an economic development official to help.

Developer Paul Calcagno told the board at the meeting that he supported hiring a professional to bring businesses to the village but he hopes that person could be a liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Calcagno owns several buildings in the B1 district and donated $10,000 to the village for the sewer project. He complained that the wait time for approval from the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) was three months for a sign for the new restaurant in one of his buildings.

“They don’t have definitive guidelines to stick to,” he told the board, warning that long waits could turn away new businesses. He also talked about the HPC not allowing him to replace older wooden windows with energy efficient vinyl windows for historic preservation reasons, though he said observers cannot tell the difference between the two window types anymore.

“I understand your frustration,” the mayor said to Mr. Calcagno. Of the delay, she said, “This seems to be a real issue with the HPC.”

She said that the Village Board would talk to the HPC.

The board did not reach a decision at last week’s meeting on whether to hire an economic developer and will discuss the suggestion again in connection with the budget.

Also at the February 12 meeting the board:

Gave Northern Columbia Little League permission to add a new scoreboard and a homerun fence that can be removed at anytime to the K2 field at Rothermel Park

Heard that Village Clerk/Treasurer Nicole Heeder will be sending out letters to residents who owe back taxes. She said the bills go back as far as 2008 and come to the amount of about $17,000

Discussed the treated water from the Dewey Loeffel Superfund Site being released into the Valatie Kill, which flows into Kinderhook Creek. Board members asked for more information before passing a motion opposing the release of the water. “The Village wells are 100 and some feet from the creek,” said Deputy Mayor Dale Leiser. Mayor Weaver said the board would go on record asking for more information.

Adopted Local Law 1-2014 to override the tax levy limit for the fiscal year 2014-15, if needed. The board held a public hearing on the law before the regular meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

The next village board meeting will be Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall on Route 9.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

 

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