G’town board OKs plan for treatment plant upgrade

GERMANTOWN–The Town Board accepted the final engineering report by Delaware Engineering on the Water Waste Treatment Plant (WWTP) at the March 12 board meeting. The upgrade for the WWTP is expected to cost no more than $2.5 million. A grant for $625,000 will be appropriated for the project.

J. Squared Contractor won the bid, coming in at $1.6 million for the project. Omaha Electrical Contractor will do the electrical work for a bid of $264,000, and Delaware Engineering will oversee the project for $150,000. The State Environmental Quality Review and the bond resolution for the project were approved as well.

Also at the meeting, Ellen Jouret-Epstein presented the board with a copy of newly published 304 pages 2018 Natural Resources Inventory of Columbia County. A copy is on the Columbia County Environmental Management Council website, which can be reached by searching on the full name of the council. Read more…

Consolidated courts Hillsdale’s cable market

HILLSDALE–The monthly Hillsdale Town Board meeting last week was dominated by a presentation from Consolidated Communications, Inc. (CCI) representatives, Peter Mercer and Bill Mulrein. The company plans to compete with Spectrum/Time Warner for franchises to provide cable television service to Hillsdale and other towns in the Hudson Valley. Consolidated already provides internet and phone service in Hillsdale and many other towns following its recent acquisition of Fairpoint Communications.

Mr. Mercer used a census map of Hillsdale to identify areas that currently are underserved, namely the northwest, southeast and west end sections. He also fielded questions from town Broadband Committee chair, Andrew Dash.

According to Mr. Mercer, the state agreement that underwrites a significant amount of the costs for service providers to upgrade their systems, bars towns from entering into an exclusive franchise agreement with any service provider. Hence CCI’s bid to enter the Hillsdale cable TV market. Read more…

Mayor, trustee apologize for Chatham tax mess

CHATHAM—Monday, March 11 was the last regular meeting for Village Mayor Tom Curran and Trustee Jay Rippel. Neither was seeking reelection in village elections on March 19. During the public comments at the end of the meeting, both men personally apologized for the financial issues the village is currently going through.

Last summer the Village Board discovered that federal payroll taxes had not been paid for three years and then last December the board announced at a meeting that the village had not paid state payroll taxes for the same period. The village was able to pay the back taxes, which had been withheld from employees, but there was interest and penalties on the late payments that must still be paid to both the state and the US governments.

The IRS forgave several thousand dollars in penalties but says the village still owes $18,112. And the state has not yet said what the village owes, though it could be about $25,000. The village is also under investigation for the late payments by the county District Attorney and the state Department of Taxation. In January State Police and state officials seized village computers and documents. Read more…

Ashby reaches out to local leaders and gets an earful

VALATIE–Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th) held a Municipal Executive Forum with county supervisors and the mayors of Valatie and Kinderhook on March 13 at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building. The assemblyman said he was hosting forums like this in other counties in his district with an agenda to discuss the many issues municipalities deal with and the ways that he can assist.

Mr. Ashby’s Assembly district includes the towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Hillsdale, Kinderhook and New Lebanon as well as most of Rensselaer and southern Washington counties.

Mr. Ashby was joined by his constituent liaison, Sally Hogan, who is also a Town of Kinderhook councilwoman, and by his chief of staff, Tom Grant. Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle and Kinderhook Mayor Jim Dunham attended the afternoon meeting with Kinderhook Town Supervisor Pat Grattan, Chatham Supervisor Maria Lull and New Lebanon Supervisor Colleen Teal. Read more…

Rail trail chugs ahead

COPAKE—The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is almost half-way there.

Construction work is now underway on the fourth phase of the trail, an eight-mile section which will complete the Dutchess County portion of the trail from the Village of Millerton, Town of North East and link it to Under Mountain Road in Ancram, Columbia County.

Once this section is completed—23 miles of continuous trail will be in place from the Metro North Train Station in Wassaic (Dutchess County) north to Copake Falls (Columbia County.) The milestone is half-way to the goal of a 46 mile-long recreational trail linking Wassaic to Chatham on an abandoned portion of what once was the New York and Harlem Railroad line. Read more…