VALATIE–After several budget meetings over recent months the Valatie Board approved the 2014-15 village budget this week. But it came with a warning from Mayor Diane Argyle: “This budget is going to be a stressed budget… because of the debt load.”
The village fiscal year begins June 1.
At the special meeting Tuesday, April 29, the board adopted a $1.5-million budget with a tax levy increase slightly below the 2% cap on increases set by the state. The amount to be raised by taxes is $381,980. There were slight cuts across the board on all budget lines in the general fund, the mayor said at a previous meeting.
The biggest issue for the village is the water system. At several meetings the mayor has discussed needing a filtration plant for the wells in the village. The village is currently subject to a building moratorium imposed by the state and county health departments because of possible surface water influence in one of the wells.
At the Village Board meeting held April 23 former Mayor Gary Strevell said during a public comment period that the state and county have been trying to prove that the wells in the village are under the influence of water from Kinderhook Creek since 2004. “This has been going on so long it’s ridiculous,” he said. He also told the current board that in all that time the health department officials have never found an issue with surface water in the wells. “There is nothing conclusive,” he said.
On April 29, Mayor Argyle said that the state and county were not going away even though the well in question had been tested for a year. “How long can we go with this?” she asked. She also said that a filtration system, which could tie in several wells in the village, would be “an expensive proposition for us.”
She pointed out that the village budget already has $347,000 in annual payments for capital projects and that does not include paying off the major sewer treatment plant upgrades. Payments for debt service on that project, which involves a no-interest loan and some grant funding, will start in 2015.
As for the well water issues, Trustee Angelo Nero asked whether there is any grant money to support those upgrades.
“We need to decide what we need to do and then go out and look for it,” said the mayor.
In the meantime, Mayor Argyle said water rates will go up for village residents. She said the board has formed a committee to look into the current rates, but she hopes to have the new, higher rates in place by July, when the next water bills go out.
The mayor said the board will discuss the filtration plant question again at the next regular meeting; she wants to hold a public forum to discuss the issue before moving forward with any plans.
The next regular board meeting is Tuesday, May 13 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn building.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .