Surplus helps Kinderhook keep lid on 2017 budget

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board has passed a 2017 town budget of about $2.6 million, which keeps the town tax levy below the state cap.

The budget was adopted at a special meeting Thursday, November 10, and town Supervisor Pat Grattan stressed that taxes have continued to go down in the town, though he pointed out that there had been cuts in the past to keep the budget from increasing.

He told the small audience at the meeting that the budget is “below where the taxes were in 2009, 2010.”

Mr. Grattan said that the board needs to be very careful in planning for the Highway Department Budget, which accounts for $1.2 million of the total budget. He said the town has had two easy winters that required less salt, fuel and manpower to take care of the snow. He said if a bad storm hits the town this year, costs would go up in overtime for snow removal and supplies.

The 2017 budget does include using the fund balance–money that was not spent in 2016–to help lower the amount to be raised by taxes. About $25,000 of that surplus was allocated in each of the three main budget lines.

In a sheet Mr. Grattan handed out at the meeting, the tentative tax rate calculations for 2017 are $1.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value for residents in the town, and .53544 cents per $1,000 for residents of the villages of Kinderhook and Valatie.

Residents in Valatie will see an increase in the payments made by the village to the town for the Highway Department services. In the 2017, Valatie will pay $107,400 for those town services, up from $84,000 the village paid this year. Valatie dissolved its Highway Department in the 1990s and has been contracting with the town at the same rate for many years. Mr. Grattan said a committee from the town negotiated with the village for the new one-year contract.

There will be some savings in the recreation budget. Two years ago, the town cut the swim program and now has a contract with the Town of Chatham for swim lessons and swimming at Chatham’s Crellin Park for kids enrolled in the Kinderhook summer recreation program.

For 2017, the board is cutting the busing service that transported kids to camp at Volunteer Park in the mornings and afternoons. Mr. Grattan said only five kids used the bus last year.

The budget also contains a small, voter-approved increase in the amount the town gives to the Kinderhook Memorial Library and an increase in the payment for ambulance service to the Valatie Rescue Squad of $202,327, up from the $148,820 this year. There are 2.5% increases for the four fire departments that cover the town. Chatham, Kinderhook, Stuyvesant Falls and Valatie fire departments all receive some funds from the town.

There is about $4,000 more in the 2017 budget to update the website. At that regular board meeting Monday, November 14, the board approved reaching out to website design firms and issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for a new website. Village resident Peter Bujanow, who was asked by the board asked to draft the RFP, said at Monday’s meeting that the town is looking for website that is easier to use and update. “What we want is something that is more user friendly,” he said. The board did not discuss cost for a redesigned site.

There was also talk about lighting at both the budget meeting and the Town Board meeting. The town and village residents pay for lighting at the traffic circle, though that part of the town is not in either of the villages. Town residents pay for street lights in what was once the Niverville Lighting District.

Resident Ed Simonsen came to the board meeting on Monday with a long list of properties on Routes 9 and 9H that have lights that he said do not comply with town codes. Mr. Grattan said the board would pass the list along to the town building inspector/code enforcement officer for review.

The next town board meeting is Monday, December 12 in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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