Village endorses plea to lower Rte. 203 speed limit

CHATHAM–The Village Board voted last Thursday night to support a petition asking the state to reduce the speed limit on state Route 203 on the west side of the village. The currently posted limit is 55 mph.

Village Treasurer Barbara Henry said a link to the petition is on the Village of Chatham Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VillageofChathamNY.

Clicking on the link connects to a document that that reads, “This petition seeks a reduction of the speed limit on NY State Route 203 from approximately Maranatha Church at 1965 Route 203 to the Chatham Village border. This short stretch of road currently has a speed limit of 55 mph. It is heavily used by pedestrians walking to Mac-Haydn Theater, Edgewood Acres Mobile Home Park, and a shortcut to Chatham High School. Driving toward Chatham Village, the road goes downhill. Lowering the speed limit on this short stretch of New York state road would be appropriate and make a significant positive impact on safety.”

The petition was started by village resident Christy Collins.

The day before the December 14 Village Board meeting there was a fatal car accident on Route 203 in the Town of Kinderhook.

In 2015, residents along the state route had asked the towns of Kinderhook, Ghent and Chatham to pass resolutions requesting that the state reduce the speed limit on 203. Though all three town boards did so, the state denied the request.

Chatham Village Mayor Tom Curran said of this petition to reduce the speed limit along that one section of the road, “It’s a good idea.”

“It’s very close to the village and this affects us,” Trustee Lenore Packet said of the speed limit. At Edgewood Acres, the speed limit goes down to 30 mph, but it is 55 mph from inside the Village of Chatham and along Route 203 until the Village of Valatie, where it drops first to 40 mph and then 30 mph.

In another safety related matter, Chatham Police Department now has an officer certified as a child safety seat instructor available to help new parents install baby and child car seats correctly. “Child seat safety is very important,” Police Chief Peter Volkmann told the board at the meeting.

He said that families interested in the service can call the village office at 518 392-5821 or the police at 518 392-3451 to make an appointment.

Also at the December 14 meeting:

• The board discussed the village budget. The village is halfway through its fiscal year, which runs from June through May. Ms. Henry said that the village is “on target to bring in higher revenues,” than budgeted due to some old equipment having been sold and an increase in funding from the state highway improvement program called CHIPS.

But Ms. Henry said that water and sewer revenues are “not what is budgeted, so that will be an ongoing conversation.” She said that expenditures for those budget lines are “well within our budget” but revenues are down

• The board approved the fire protection contracts with the Town of Kinderhook for $14,088 and the Town of Chatham for $36,790. Mayor Curran said there was an increase in the funds paid to the village fire company for fire protection from the Town of Chatham. The funds from the Town of Kinderhook remand the same

• Leaf pick up is over for the season but the Department of Public Works will pick Christmas Trees on the Mondays and Fridays after the holiday. Phil Genovese of the village DPW stressed that lights and ornaments must be removed from the trees

• Mayor Curran announced that they board is moving forward with foreclosure proceedings on two properties. The Zeissett and the Trefethen properties both owe back taxes to the village.

The next village meeting will be Thursday, January 11 at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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