County villages wrap up their budgets

GHENT–The Village Boards of Valatie, Kinderhook and Philmont have passed their 2019-20 budgets. The Village of Chatham plans to pass its budget later this month. Village fiscal years run from June through May and must be sent to the state so are they are normally finalized in April.

Valatie

At the Valatie Village Board meeting Tuesday, April 9, the board reviewed a $1,672,535 budget. Mayor Diane Argyle said that though there was a slight increase in the budget the village taxes would be “little bit lower than last year.” She pointed out that the tax base is higher in the new fiscal year. According to the budget handed out at the meeting, the taxes per $1,000 of assessed value in this year’s budget will $4.03.

Mayor Argyle said there is money in the budget for sidewalk repair in the village, an issue that was discussed at a Village Board meeting in March.

The Valatie Village budget also includes an increase in the fee the village pays to the Town of Kinderhook for highway services. This year the fee is going up from $117,400 to $120,000. Mayor Argyle also said she had not included in the village budget the state Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding, which was about $9,000 in the past. “We just lost the money, period,” she said at the April 9 meeting.

There is also money in the Valatie budget to maintain the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET) that will run through the village along the National Grid right-of-ways. The state is paying for the construction of the 35-mile long bike and waking trail. Crews should be working on the trail this spring with a plan to have open in 2020.

Kinderhook

The Village of Kinderhook also has funding in its 2019-20 village budget to maintain the part of the AHET that runs through the village. The Kinderhook Village Board passed the $1,255,534 spending plan at the April 10 board meeting. The tax rate is set at $0.00235 so the rate per $1,000 is about $2.35, which is the same as last year.

Mayor Jim Dunham said at the meeting last week that the budget was within the state mandated tax cap. The board also approved an increase in the amount some residents pay for maintenance on the sewer. Kinderhook does not have a waste water treatment plant but through grants and loans the board was able to connect 35 properties in the village business district to the Valatie sewer system. Property owners who are connected to the sewer pay for the service as well as a unit charge on the debt service for the project. The mayor asked his board to approve increasing that fee from $40 a year to $60 to keep up with expenses to maintain the system. He also said at the end of the April 10 meeting that though it’s not in this year’s budget, the board may look at raising water rates in the village. “We will be raising them soon,” said Trustee Dale Leiser, who is the water and sewer commissioner.

The Kinderhook Village Board approved increasing the sewer fee and the 2019-20 budget at their meeting.

Philmont

Philmont approved its 2019-20 budget of $1,894,270 at the board’s April 8 regular meeting. The tax rate, per $1,000 of assessed land for residents is about $7.68.

Chatham

The Chatham Village Board held a budget hearing Monday, April 15. Three residents attended the meeting along with the village treasurer and village clerk. Mayor John Howe presented a $1,204,280 budget which, is a decrease of about $13,000 from last year’s budget. He said at the hearing that the budget expenditures are down but that expected revenues are down as well. He also pointed out that this budget includes a pay increase for the police, as part of their negotiated contract, and increases for the police chief, village clerk and deputy clerk.

Mayor Howe also said that some of the numbers in the budget are estimates since village files were seized by the state and have not been returned to the village. The Village of Chatham is under investigation by the state’s Office of Taxation for not paying state employee taxes for three years.

Mr. Howe said that he was not making an excuse; “We don’t have the records, they are in Albany.”

The Chatham Village Board plans to hold a special meeting April 29 at 7 p.m. to pass the 2019-20 budget.

Chatham, Kinderhook and Philmont have their budgets online at their websites. Philmont has the tentative budget online, as does Chatham.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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