Costs grow for town’s care of village roads

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board approved raising the fee charged to the Village of Valatie for town Highway Department services at their April 1 meeting.

Since 1991 the village has contracted with the town for Highway Department services. The village dissolved its Department of Public Works and now has only a Water and Sewer Department. The state maintains the three state routes that run through the village.

In 2018, the village paid $117,400 for the town’s highway services in two installments. That was a $10,000 increase over the previous year. But the amounts are confusing because the village and town have different fiscal years–the village budget runs from June through May and the town fiscal year runs from January through December. Village Mayor Diane Argyle said in a phone interview after the April 1 town meeting that the village has been paying $117,400 since June 2018.

Starting June 1 of this year, the town will increase the fee by $2,600, which would bring the total amount that the village pays the town for highway services to $120,000 a year. This would be a one-year contract that ends May 31, 2020. The Village Board planned for the increase in 2019-20 village budget, which they approved at the village meeting on April 9. The village budget needs to be reviewed by the state before it can be finalized.

The Town Board unanimously passed the increase at their meeting after a closed door executive session to discuss the contract. Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said that any time a board discusses contracts its members may go into a session not open to the public. The board returned to an open meeting to vote on the fee change.

The Village of Kinderhook, which is also within the Town of Kinderhook, operates its own Department of Public Works and does not contract with the town.

Also at the Town Board meeting:

• The board passed a resolution called Carbon Fee and Dividend, a proposal presented to the board by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby that asks Congress to put a fee on oil, coal and natural gas producers and have the money returned directly to taxpayers. The town’s Smart Climate Committee recommended the board adopt the resolution after meeting with Michael O’Hara, a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. There is more information at citizensclimatelobby.org/energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act/

• The board is looking for a two volunteers, one to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals and another to serve on the Board of Assessment Review. Residents who would like to serve on one or the other of those boards should send a letter of interest to the town

• The Town Board is still looking to fill an open position in the Recreation Department

• Peter Bujanow was at the meeting to say that the town’s new website, which he has been working on with the board, should be ready by the end of the this month and that it will include a history of the town written by Town Historian Kate Johnson and former Town Historian Ruth Piwonka. He thanked them both at the meeting for their work. Ms. Piwonka urged the board to add the contact information for the town historian to the website, saying that it would have made their job easier when working on the history if people could have contacted them. She reminded the board that it is state law that towns have a historian.

The next Town Board meeting will be Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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