Faulty meter muddle clogs sewer payment plan

VALATIE–Last week Village Board members discussed sewer billing issues they are having with their neighbor to the south, the Village of Kinderhook. A day later the Kinderhook Village Board addressed the same topic but hasn’t yet come up with a solution.

At the March 8 Valatie meeting Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle said that Kinderhook hasn’t paid its sewer bill for the last two quarters because Kinderhook has a broken sewer usage meter.

Over 30 properties in Kinderhook’s village business district were connected to the Valatie Wastewater Treatment Plant off Route 9 in late 2014. Mayor Argyle said the meter Kinderhook installed to gage sewer use was actually a water meter, which has produced incorrect readings that result in fees being higher than they should be.

At a Kinderhook Village Board meeting the next night, Kinderhook Mayor Carol Weaver said she was researching the meter. Jim Dunham, the Kinderhook village project manager for the sewer project, confirmed that there is “a problem with the meter.” Kinderhook village officials have yet to discuss the problem with the engineer who designed the project.

At the Valatie meeting, village trustees discussed whether to postpone requesting payment of the sewer bill or instead continue billing Kinderhook at the increased amount. Valatie Trustee Frank Bevens said he didn’t think his board should do anything until the Kinderhook Board “tells us when they fix their meter.”

Commenting on discussions Kinderhook is having about the broken meter Valatie Trustee Angelo Nero said, “There could be a lot of finger pointing until they get something done.”

Valatie Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons, who is also the attorney for the Village of Kinderhook, pointed out that the Kinderhook Board still needs deal with the engineer and then possibly seek bids for installing a new meter, all of which could take some time.

If Kinderhook pays now based on readings from the broken meter, village sewer users could end up paying more than they owe, said Valatie Mayor Argyle. She also said the system has only been running for a year and the meter broke early on in the process. The mayor stressed that the Kinderhook Board is trying to deal with the problem.

Mayor Argyle said that the Kinderhook board wants Valatie to bill for sewer by looking at water use for the properties hooked-up to the Wastewater system.

“They owe us about $10,000,”she said. After more board discussion, Mayor Argyle said, “We’ll give them six more months to straighten it out then it’s going to be what the meter says.”

Also at the meeting:

•Brush pick up in the village starts Monday, April 11. Bagged brush will be picked up curbside. The mayor said that brush can be no longer than six feet, and a new requirement this year is that it cannot be wider than six inches in circumference

•Village resident Nick Becker is organizing a village wide clean-up day for April 30. Information will be posted on the village website at www.valatievillage.com. The mayor announced the Mr. Becker is looking for volunteers

•The board agreed to have S&F, a private security firm, bill the village for costs incurred by board member Phil Bickerton. Mr. Bickerton has cameras on his property on Mechanic Street (Route 203) and Spring Street. After there were break-ins on Mechanic Street, Mr. Bickerton allowed the county Sheriff’s Office to view video from the cameras. Going through S&F to view the footage cost $175, according to Mr. Bickerton. Since it was in service of local law enforcement and the village, he asked that the village cover the bill. The mayor said that Valatie would cover the cost and contact the security company

•The board rejected a request from the Northern Columbia Little League (NCLL) to have the right of first refusal for baseball fields at Callan Park during the league’s season. “I don’t think we should give total control of the field to one organization,” said Trustee Bevens.

Mr. Fitzsimmons pointed out that Callan is a public park that anyone may use. The board did agree that NCLL can use the fields during the season

•The mayor said that there had been an issue with a beaver destroying trees at the Pachaquack Preserve. The mayor said the state Department of Environmental Conservation told her that it is currently trapping season for beavers but if a beaver is trapped it will be killed. She hired a contractor to wrap the trees in steel to protect them.

The next regular Village Board meeting is Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Glynn Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

 

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