VALATIE–Supervisor Pat Grattan conducted his last monthly Town Board meeting December 16. He said that this was his 120th Town Board meeting as supervisor and that he was not saying goodbye but, “I want to say thanks instead.”
Mr. Grattan was elected in 2009 and chose not to run for reelection this year. He also served as chairman of the County Board of Supervisors until 2016 and was the mayor of the Village of Valatie. Mr. Grattan talked about coming into office during a time of financial “losses,” which had left the town’s reserves in the negative numbers but that with budgeting the board has reversed that.
He thanked the Town Board members past and present, town employees, his mentors and his family. He also thanked all the residents who attended meetings and volunteered for town committees.
Mr. Grattan thanked Town Attorney Andy Howard, saying that in the time that Mr. Howard has represented the town the board has never been a defendant in a law suit or been named in an Article 78 action due to a decision made by the Planning Board.
He also thanked Councilman Phil Bickerton for leading the way on environmental issues in the town, including a grant for an electric car charger at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.
The town and the Village of Valatie both moved their offices into the Glynn Building in 2013 at no cost, Mr. Grattan said. The Glynn Building was an Ichabod Crane Central School District elementary school that the town and village bought for $1. He said that 20 community groups now use the building for events. Mr. Grattan also talked about converting the building’s former school cafeteria into a courtroom for the town at minimal cost.
“This is not a victory lap,” he said of his comments. All of the people mentioned helped make these things happen, he said.
Councilwoman Patsy Leader was elected supervisor in November. She will be sworn in January 1. Mr. Bickerton and Councilman Tim Ooms were reelected to four-year terms. The board will appoint a new councilperson in January to fill Ms. Leaders seat.
Also at the meeting:
• The board heard from Katy Vescio, a representative from the not-for-profit local development corporation Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA), about the town signing on to the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) that the Village of Kinderhook has already joined. The CCA would use bulk purchasing and competition to offer electric rates to town residents and could offer access to 100% renewable electricity.
Ms. Vescio stressed that this is a new program in the state. Her company offered the only other CCA in the Southern Tier of the state outside of a pilot program conducted in Westchester. The capital region CCA, which is what the town would be part of, includes the villages of Kinderhook and Voorheesville, the cities of Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, and Watervliet, the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland and Niskayuna.
Ms. Vescio said the town would have to adopt a resolution agreeing to work with her company by January 1 and then pass a local law in March. But Mr. Bickerton, who asked Ms. Vescio to present at the meeting, pointed out “anybody can opt out at any time.”
Ms. Vescio also stressed that part of the process includes public hearings to explain to residents what the CCA is and during those meetings the board will hear if “your residents want this.”
“This is also decided at the most local level,” she said, emphasizing that if the Town of Kinderhook signs on to the CCA, residents in the Village of Valatie would not be part of the agreement. The Valatie Village Board will have to pass its own resolution.
“It’s moving fast for you guys,” said Ms. Vescio of the timeline for passing a resolution, because, she said, many municipalities in the CCA have already signed on. “The capital region one grew really fast,” she said.
In a presentation Ms. Vescio gave in the Village of Kinderhook, she said once the board passes a resolution, “MEGA creates a competitive bid process for electricity supply based on what the community desires.” At that meeting she said that the village board does not have to join the CCA after passing the local law. The board could decide not to move forward even after the local law is adopted.
Mr. Bickerton said that Mr. Howard would review the resolution and the board would discuss it again at the end-of-year meeting December 30
• Residents Peter Bujanow and Tom Barber reported to the board about a meeting they had with the YMCA about building a facility in Kinderhook. Mr. Barber said, about the Y moving to the county, “Yes, they have interest but it’s not high on their flagpole.” He said the Y is working on three new buildings in other areas and would want to do a survey of the town.
One issue facing the Y is the high cost of having a pool in the facility, which Mr. Bujanow said is what town residents are interested in having. Mr. Bujanow asked the board if they would be supportive of having him and Mr. Barber look for investors or working with the current businesses that have gym facilities about having a pool in the town.
“The consensus is to keep going,” said Supervisor Grattan
• The board approved a resolution to change the town retiree health insurance plan. Mr. Grattan said the change would have to be brought to the Highway Department members for approval since they are part of the Teamsters union
• The board recognized Eagle Scouts Sean Parker and Bailey Lapo-McDermott with an official motion.
After the meeting, the board held a party for Mr. Grattan, where he was presented with a clock, a book and bookends. Officials and residents from the town and villages attended.
The town will hold an end-of-year meeting December 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building and will hold the next regular town board meeting January 6 at 7 p.m.