K’hook village raises sewer rates, ponders garage plans

KINDERHOOK–The Village Board passed a motion at the June 8 meeting to increase the maintenance fee on the sewer bills for the properties in the village connected to the Valatie sewer system. The maintenance fee will rise from $20 to $40 a year to cover the cost of having a maintenance contract on pumper the village installed when over 30 properties in the Kinderhook business district were connected to the Valatie sewer.

The board also approved a $50 fee for non-village residents who want to rent the pavilion in Rothermel Park for events. Kinderhook village residents will still be able to apply to use the pavilion for free.

The board discussed reducing or possibly abolishing another type of fee: building permit fees for not-for-profit groups. Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith pointed out that these organizations have to raise money through donations and grants for construction projects. He said that organizations like churches in the village “don’t have endless funds for projects” and he talked about the permits the Kinderhook Memorial Library has had to get for its expansion project. Mr. Smith said such groups shouldn’t have to use funds obtained through donations for planning fees.

Mayor Jim Dunham said that he had spoken with Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons about waiving the fees and that Mr. Fitzsimmons suggested the board waive the fees on a case-by-case basis. The mayor said he would look into the issue further and noted that he is the project manager on a construction project at the Dutch Reform Church, which would be coming to the Planning Board for approvals.

The board also discussed the Department of Public Works garage the board plans to rebuild with insurance payments. The old garage was destroyed in a fire last year.

Last month the board accepted the bid from One Way Construction for $357,000 to build the new garage and the board recently held a meeting on the construction. There was some discussion of having the village DPW do some of the work required for the footings. Board members Rich Phillips and Robert Baumeister opposed that.

“I wouldn’t hire a contractor and then dig the hole,” said Mr. Baumeister.

Mr. Phillips reviewed all the numbers from the insurance company saying that for the amount the village was receiving they should be able to cover the cost of project. “We voted on this…. We took a long time approving this,” he said of the plan for the building to house the department’s equipment and a shop for employees.

“I don’t think we should pay one tax dollar,” he said of having village employees do part of the job.

DPW Superintendent Dave Booth said that he had asked for some changes in the plan from the company. Mr. Smith, the building inspector, said there were some code issues that needed to be looked at as well.

Mr. Phillip said that changes to the plans should be reviewed and approved by the board, not village employees.

Also at the meeting:

• The board appointed members of the Climate Smart Communities Committee to look into ways to make the village more energy efficient

• Peter Bujanow, who is on the board of Friends of Lindenwald, asked about using the Village Square to celebrate the 175 anniversary of President Martin Van Buren’s return to the area from Washington. The group plans to have speeches and fire a cannon, as was done at the time. The event will be August 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mr. Bujanow said he would submit an application to the Village Board seeking approval for use of the square but he wanted to see if there was support of the event. Mayor Dunham said the board was very supportive and would review the application.

•June 23 the village is hosting the Third Annual Columbia County Food Truck Village on and around the Village Square. There will be 11 food trucks and 5 tent food vendors from 5 to 9 p.m.

The next board meeting is will be Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the village hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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