K’hook takes first steps toward smarter climate practices

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board is looking for residents to join a Climate Smart Committee. Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said at a board meeting this week that he will chair the committee, which will review the Climate Smart initiatives that are part of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) program.

The board signed on to the Climate Smart Communities Pledge in October, agreeing to become a Climate Smart Community. The program helps municipalities research and invest in green technologies. The pledge the board agreed to when it passed a motion last fall, says that the town will: decrease community energy use and increase community use of renewable energy; reduce greenhouse gas emissions through use of climate-smart land-use tools; and commit to an evolving process of climate action.

The DEC website suggests that towns create a task force or appoint a coordinator to help meet the Climate Smart Community goals.

At the Monday, January 11 Town Board meeting, Ed Simonsen, a town resident and the town’s representative on the county Environmental Management Council, read a letter to the board that he sent to Mr. Grattan praising the Town Board for taking on climate change but urging members to move forward on this issue. “The time for action… is now!” he wrote in the letter. “The opportunity is too precious to be frittered away.”

Resident Marcia Anderson also urged the board to move forward with the issues in the Climate Smart Pledge, asking for an energy study of town buildings, among other things. She said moving forward would show that “the Climate Smart Pledge wasn’t just a window dressing vote that the board took.” She also suggested later in the meeting that town should ask Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle to join the committee, since the town and the village share the Martin H. Glynn Building and could look for greener ways to run the space together.

Mr. Grattan said he had been on the DEC website. “There are some wonderful programs,” he said of environmentally friendly projects around the state listed on the site. But he said that any project for the town would come with a “cost-benefit analysis.”

He said the board would accept letters of interest from people who would like to sit on the new Climate Smart Committee until the next board meeting, February 8. He did not say how many people he would pick for the committee or when the group would start meeting. The DEC suggests the task force be made up of elected officials, town department heads, facilities and road maintenance staff, the building inspector, Conservation Advisory Commission members, purchasing staff and interested citizens.

Mr. Simonsen said in his letter and at the board meeting, “I and others stand ready and able to assess and address these factors which have both present and future impacts. Our environment and relationship to it can be improved through cooperation and education.”

Also at the meeting:

  • The board set a public hearing date to discuss proposed Local Law #1 of 2016, which would make Lake and Church Streets in Niverville one-way. The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on February 8 in the Glynn Building
  • Town Attorney Andy Howard said that the person offering to buy the old town hall in Niverville is securing the funding to finalize the sale and that the closing could happen later this month. Funds from the sale of the building will be placed into a fund for repair projects on the current town hall
  • The board held its yearly organizational meeting before the regular board meeting. The agenda for that meeting, with the appointments, is posted on the town website, www.kinderhook-ny.gov.

The next board meeting will be February 8 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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