Chatham hears flip sides of food truck question

CHATHAM–The newly elected Village Board held its first regular meeting Monday, April 8. Several residents came out to discuss a food truck that has been parking on Main Street. There was also discussion about future road work on Washington Avenue.

According to local law, food trucks are not allowed in the village since a vendor cannot stop for longer than 10 minutes in one place.

Village Attorney Ken Dow said at the meeting that the law, which dates back to 1930 with some updates, “may not have been designed for modern things.” He also said because it’s a local law, it can be changed.

“I don’t think the food truck is a bad idea, but it has to be regulated,” said newly elected board member Melony Spock.

Other residents had some concerns about parking in the village and using village property for the food trucks.

Adam Moon, who has parked his Moondog food truck on Main Street and was at the meeting, said he has a letter from several local businesses “giving me consent” to park near their stores. He said they are not opposed to his truck being in the village.

Resident Lael Locke, who was on the village zoning update committee, told the board that food trucks are addressed in the proposed new zoning law. The previous Village Board had been reviewing the updates to the zoning law with Mr. Dow but did not pass a law adopting the changes.

New Village Mayor John Howe said the board would look at the zoning but he stressed to Mr. Moon and the 17 other people at the meeting that there are several things the board needs to deal with before they could discuss changing the zoning law.

“We have to get the budget done,” the mayor said of one pressing issue. The board has been meeting with department heads to review their budgets. The village budget must to be finalized this month and will start June 1 and end May 31, 2020. At the end of the meeting Mr. Howe said that so far, the tentative budget for 2019-20 is coming in under the state mandated tax cap. He also said that there have been “no surprises” in the budgeting process. “I’m feeling pretty confident,” he said of finalizing the budget. They plan to pass the 2019-20 village budget at a special meeting on April 29.

Mr. Howe, Ms. Spock and Trustee Jaime Bohme all took office April 1 after being elected in March. Incumbent Peter Minahan, who was appointed to the board last fall, was also elected to the board. Incumbent Lenore Packet holds the only seat that was not on ballot.

Last year, the board discovered that federal and state payroll taxes had not been fully paid for about three years. The village received fines from the IRS and are now under investigation by the state government. At the meeting, Mr. Howe said that the state was still conducting its investigation. The village may also have to pay fines and penalties to the state, but officials do not yet know an amount.

The board held its last budget workshop meeting Thursday, April 11 and a public hearing on the proposed budget on April 15.

Phil Genovese from the Department of Works, said that he had budgeted for water main and road work on Washington Avenue. He said they “plan on starting on June 1.”

Elizabeth Wagner, a resident of the street had written a letter, read at the meeting by Village Clerk Debra Meyers, pointing out the deteriorating condition of the road and sidewalks.

“Their street is a priority,” said Mr. Howe.

Also at the meeting:

• The board received a letter for resident Georgene Gardner about the Morris Memorial on Park Row opening to senior citizens on Mondays and Fridays. The building has in indoor track, ping pong and pool tables and a gym.

“I can’t think of anything better,” said Mr. Howe, pointing out that village gives about $10,000 a year in funding to the Morris. There will be an organizational meeting about the senior program on April 26 at 11 a.m. at The Morris Memorial

• The board appointed Paul Rideout village fire chief, Eric Barnes 1st assistant fire chief and Paul Pratt 2nd assistant

• The board approved closing Woodbridge Avenue, Kinderhook Street, Main Street, Hudson Avenue to the Chatham Rural Cemetery and Hoffman Street for the Memorial Day Parade on May 27 at 10:30 a.m.

• The village Police Department is participating in the National Medication Take Back Program Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Residents can bring medications that need to be disposed of safely to the Tracy Memorial on Main Street that day

• During his report, Police Chief Peter Volkmann asked about a donation of active shooter safety equipment, valued at about $17,000, that was given to the village by an anonymous donor recently. He said that he had not accepted the donation yet and wanted to discuss it with the board. Mr. Howe said that he was planning to meet with the village attorney, Chief Volkmann and Trustee Minahan, the police commissioner, to discuss the donation.

“Lord knows we don’t want to let go of $17,000” in equipment, he said but it needed to be looked into.

The next board meeting will be Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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