Village bans tobacco where it can, debates DPW’s fate

KINDERHOOK–The Village Board has prohibited smoking at all village owned buildings, property and parks. The board passed a resolution about the prohibition of tobacco use at their regular meeting last week.

Signs will be posted on village property about the prohibition on tobacco use. The board’s resolution reads in part, “effective October 1, 2015, the use of all tobacco products… is prohibited at all times by all employees and visitors” at all spaces, vehicles and properties, grounds and parking areas owned, rented, leased or operated by the village.

Also at the September 9 meeting the board continued its discussion about the future of the village Department of Works (DPW) after a fire ignited by a cigarette last Memorial Day burned down the DPW building, destroying almost all of the department’s equipment. The board is still debating whether to rebuild the garage.

Members of the board have been meeting with a committee formed by the Town of Kinderhook to look into having the town handle public works services for the village. Mayor Carol Weaver said at last week’s meeting that the Village Board has received a proposal from the town with two options. One option would be to contract with the town for all DPW services, including mowing, snow removal and leaf pickup, among other things, for $218,182 annually.

The other option is for the town to handle only some itemized services. But Mayor Weaver said the board has some questions about the second option.

Before the fire the DPW was budgeted to cost the village around $209,000 a year, Ms. Weaver said. “It seems it would be cheaper for us to maintain our own DPW,” she said.

Trustee Rich Phillips pointed out that the 2013-14 DPW budget was $207,247 but that figure did not include the cost of the maintaining the water system. Adding that cost brought the total to $228,000, he said.

Mr. Phillips said that this year the DPW budget was set at $235,301 and that adding in the expenses for water brought the total to $265,000.

Deputy Mayor Dale Leiser said the water revenues pay for that portion of the budget, so the water funds should not be considered when looking at the total DPW budget. And Ms. Weaver pointed out that the higher budget last year had to do with several water line breaks the village had to deal with over the winter.

The board is still waiting to hear back from the town about the cost of a contract for a limited list of DPW services.

If village trustees decide that the village should retain its own DPW, the board would need to build a new building and would have to replace much of the equipment.

The board discussed replacing the leaf pickup machine at the meeting because the machine the village owns is 23 years old and needs repair. Village DPW Superintendent Dave Booth said he would bring the board information about leasing a new machine, at a cost of about $30,000 total.

“The majority of the people in the village use that service,” Ms. Weaver said about the leaf pickup machine.

The board plans to hold a special meeting on the leaf machine lease and the DPW but has not yet set the date.

The next village meeting will be Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale .

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