Eying reserves, K’hook opts to stretch tax cap

KINDERHOOK–The Village Board approved a $1,154,113 budget last week. Spending in budget, which takes effect June 1, 2018 and runs through May 31, 2019, is up about $60,000 over the current budget. The tax increase for homeowners in the village will go up about 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, according to an email sent out by the village and a comparison of the tax rates.

In order to adopt the new budget the board also voted to override the tax levy limit set by the state. Known as the 2% tax cap, the number is not often at 2% due to formulas the state uses. The newly adopted budget has a tax levy increase of 4.29%, which is higher than the state limit, but because all of the members of the board supported the proposal, the village was able to override the cap.

Over 20 residents turned out for the public hearing held prior to the vote on the budget on Wednesday, April 11, with several commenting on the spending plan and on other issues they have with the board like the Albany-Hudson Electric Trial which is going through the village, the fact that the Dutch Inn is still not open, and the cost of the construction of the sewer lines that connect properties in the business district to the Valatie sewer system.

“There is no fat in the budget,” said Trustee David Flaherty, who stressed that there had been several budget meetings that were open to public before the new budget was finalized. He and Trustee Rich Phillips said the board was trying to think ahead and put money in reserves for future expenses, like purchasing a new fire truck and the major repair work needed on the Village Hall, which includes replacement of the backstairs to the building and masonry work.

“At some point you have to curb bonding,” Mr. Flaherty said of borrowing for such projects.

Trustee Dale Leiser said this was the first year since the state mandated the tax cap six years ago that the village has overridden it.

After the meeting, Mr. Flaherty acknowledged all the work done by Village Clerk Nicole Heeder. The village office sent an email to residents about the amount their taxes would change based on the value of their property. In the current budget the rate is $2.22 per $1000, and for the 2018-19 budget it will go up to $2.30.

Copies of the budget are available at the Village Clerk’s office in the Village Hall, and past budgets are on the village’s website at www.villageofkinderhook.org.

At the public hearing, residents asked Mayor Jim Dunham if the board would make changes to the 2018-19 budget after the public hearing or if the budget was already set. Mayor Dunham said it was a done deal and the board did vote to approve the budget at their regular meeting, which was held right after the budget hearing.

At the regular meeting:

• Mayor Dunham said that the Columbia County Historic Society (CCHS) will not allow the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail to use land at the Vanderpoel House for the walking and bicycling trail, a program funded by the state. The mayor said he had met with the CCHS board several times and they would not agree to an easement put the trail near the historic house.

Mayor Dunham said the state is looking at a new route that would go on land currently owned by the Samascotts. He said the state does not purchase the land for the trail, which will mostly be on a National Grid right-of-way, but would give the village money to purchase the strip of land.

“I’m disappointed in the Historical Society,” said Trustee Phillips. He also thanked the Samascotts for their support of the trail and village

• The village Climate Smart Community Task force is getting a third quote for an electric vehicle charging station, which the group plans to have installed in the village. The village is also hosting a Building a Food Smart Community event on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Van Buren Hall

• The Village Board approved an “undertaking” with the state Department of Transportation. The mayor said having the undertaking “should make our work with DOT go smoother.” It is an agreement to reduce paperwork that needs to be filed when the village does work with the state on state roads

• The board approved Matt Cohn as chief of the village fire company. David Bartlett is1st assistant chief and Gordon Pratt is 2nd assistant chief. Larry Eisen was made captain.

The next Village Board meeting will be Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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