Village says mound can come and go, grass stays put

KINDERHOOK–The Village Board accepted the bid of One Way Construction for $357,000 to build a new Department of Public Works garage on Route 9. According to Trustee Rich Phillips, insurance payments to the village will cover the full cost of repairs.

The old DPW building burned down in a fire last May.

The April 13 Village Board meeting was the first this term for newly elected Mayor Jim Dunham. Mr. Dunham, who was elected last month, previously was mayor from 2002 to 2006. He has also served as a village trustee.

At the meeting the board held a public hearing on the village budget and later adopted the $1 million spending plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Resident Rima Bostick, the only person to comment on the budget during the hearing, also spoke again during the regular meeting. She was concerned with raises in the budget for employees and asked what the board process was for determining pay increases.

She was also concerned that village employees were receiving raises at a time when she said many village residents were not seeing increases in their wages or in the sources that provide their fixed incomes.

“At the end of the day, we meet the governor’s cap,” said Trustee Bob Puckett, referring the property tax levy limit set by the state, which this year was about 1% for the village.

The board then had a long discussion about the baseball fields at Rothermel Park. At last month’s meeting village resident Eric DeKraai told the board that his daughter had nowhere in the village to practice softball and he asked whether he could maintain the K3 field to be used for the girls’ sport.

Mr. DeKraai was again at the meeting this month but so were representatives from Northern Columbia Little League (NCLL).

The Little League representatives said they would take on the cost of maintaining the K3 field, as they do with the other two ball fields in the village park, but they would make it a multi-use field. That would mean they would not create a “skinned” infield, as is required for a softball field, and they could add a removable mound, another issue for softball fields. A skinned field has no grass in the infield and softball pitchers do not use a mound.

The NCLL representatives at the meeting said that they consider Volunteer Park, a Town of Kinderhook facility on State Farm Road, as the local softball park. “Our long-term desire has always been to have a baseball field there,” said NCLL President Scott Holzhauer of the village field.

Mr. DeKraai said he just wanted a place for his daughters to practice in the village. “The girls deserve the same services and equipment as the boys do,” he said.

In exchange for maintaining the field at Rothermel Park, the NCLL asked the board for the right of first right of refusal if any other groups want to use it. Several Village Board members said they supported NCLL proposal as long as the Little League kept the infield grass.

“Little League has been after this field for some time,” said Trustee Phillips. He made a motion to give NCLL the right to the field as long it retains the infield grass. All board members but Trustee Bob Puckett voted in favor. The motion passed.

“We’d like to see it done so it can be used for softball practice,” said Mayor Dunham.

The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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