CHATHAM–The Village Board moved one step closer last week to connecting the Bartlett House in the hamlet of Ghent to the village water system.
The Village of Chatham covers parts of two towns–Ghent and Chatham–and the municipal water system that serves most village residents and businesses also provides water to 134 houses in the Town of Ghent that are outside the village limits. The water line on Route 66 outside of the village stops just short of the historic Bartlett House building.
The brick building was empty for several years but it is now undergoing a major renovation, with the new owners planning to open a bakery and coffee shop in the space sometime this year. The engineer for the project sent the Village Board a letter asking for permission to connect the building to the village water line.
At the Thursday, February 11 board meeting village Department of Public Works Water Operator John Bartholomew recommended that the board install an 8-inch diameter water line to supply the Bartlett House. He also advised the board to replace the older 4-inch pipe that connects three nearby houses to village water with new 8-inch pipe. And he suggested that the board talk with the Town of Ghent about covering some of the costs for the upgrade.
Chatham Mayor Tom Curran said the village needs to talk to the Bartlett House project engineer about what the project developers would pay for. The village might pay for the upgrade from 4-inch to 8-inch pipe and for reconnecting the three neighbors of the Bartlett House to the larger pipe.
Mr. Bartholomew said that adding more pipe could mean more water customers for the village.
“It will be good for people to know it’s an option,” said Mayor Curran.
Mr. Bartholomew said that work could start on the water lines as soon as the Village Board gives its approval. He also said that the company that would install the new pipes would not be digging up people’s yards but instead would bore through the ground to lay the water lines.
The board approved connecting the Bartlett House to village water pending an agreement with the developers.
“We need an ironed out agreement,” said Mayor Curran. He said he would contact the Bartlett House representative about an agreement, which would be reviewed by the village attorney.
Also at the meeting:
•The board approved the purchase of a new telephone system for the village office that would provide more functions, including: the ability to transfer calls; create phone lines for trustees; and change voicemail messages to update residents. The system is also expected to save about $150 a month, said Village Clerk Barbara Henry
•Ms. Henry announced that the village fund balance has now increased to $530,000, which means the village is not in financial stress, a rating it had received from the state two years ago. “We did a good job at maintaining our budget,” she said. The state does not want municipalities to have too much in reserves, according to Ms. Henry, but since it costs about $100,000 a month to run the village government, this gives the board a 5-month reserve should revenues suddenly drop
•The village will again host a personal papers shredding service in March at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall. Large, locked bins will be placed on the first floor where residents can bring papers they wish to have shredded
•The Sewer Department is conducting grease trap inspections at village restaurants. In his report to the board, Sewer Operator Phil Genovese wrote that some of the traps haven’t been cleaned since the restaurants opened.
Mr. Bartholomew, who was at the meeting, said that there had been back-ups in the system at certain establishments because of the grease. “It’s in the village codes,” he said, adding there are also fines for failure to comply with the regulations.
Mr. Genovese wrote that he hopes word gets out that officials are checking so that “businesses will get their traps cleaned before we get there”
•Village elections will be held Tuesday, March 15 at the Tracy Memorial. Incumbent Lenore Packet and newly appointed Trustee Gunnar Wordon are running for the two open seats on the board.
The next Village Board regular board meeting will be March 10 at 7 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email