Chatham ponders how much to charge for village streets

CHATHAM–The Village Board took up the question last week of what to charge for events that use municipal services and village streets.

At issue were plans by Chatham Area Business and Arts (CABA) to host the organization’s annual Summerfest and what fees the village will charge to pay for police and to have the village Department of Public Works clean up afterward.

“We are not allowed to gift or give away municipal services,” Mayor Tom Curran said at the March 9 meeting. He said the total cost to CABA for the summer event, where vendors set up stands along Main Street and Park Row, would be about $980. Read more…

Town asks EPA for more filtering at Dewey Loeffel

(This story is reprinted from and is used here with permission)

NASSAU–The town wants the federal government to increase filtering of contaminated water from the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site to prevent a suspected carcinogen from entering the Valatie Kill.

Supervisor David Fleming wrote the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sunday, March 12 asking for action to stop 1,4-dioxane from entering the creek that runs past the landfill site in Rensselaer County and flows south and west through northern Columbia County.

“Your agency is able to take simple corrective action to resolve this issue by either adding additional filtration or simply recirculating water through the plant treatment process to guarantee clean discharge into our community water resources,” Mr. Fleming wrote. Read more…

County adopts vets’ tax break, hires opioid panel aide

HUDSON–Property taxes and opioid abuse were among the matters taken up at the Columbia County Board of Supervisors full board meeting Wednesday, March 8.

The board voted to increase the maximum exemption on county property taxes available to veterans and Gold Star Parents for the entire County. Under the new law qualifying veterans are allowed to subtract a certain amount from the assessed value of their property and calculate their property taxes using the reduced value.

Those qualifying as Combat Zone Veterans may deduct $24,000 from their property’s value, those qualifying as Wartime Veterans may deduct $36,000, and those qualifying as Disabled Veterans may deduct 50% of their disability rating up to a maximum of $120,000. Gold Star Parents, that is, parents “of a child who died in the line of duty while serving the United States armed forces during a period of war,” are eligible for the same exemption that their deceased child would have received. Read more…

Mayor sees no need for crowd law in K’hook

KINDERHOOK–Mayor Jim Dunham told the Village Board last week that he would not move forward with creating a law on mass gatherings in the village.

He had been discussing with board members and the village attorney some sort of law to make sure large public events like the protests in front of the office of Congressman John Faso (R – 19th) went off safely.

At the March 8 board meeting Mayor Dunham said of a law, “I don’t think we’ll pursue that.” He pointed out that the two major protests that took place at the end of January and February, with several hundred people attending, have “gone peacefully and safely.” He also said there were at least two smaller protests recently in front of Mr. Faso’s office, which is right next to the Village Square, that also happened without incident. Read more…

Cascino deal might solve one of many laws broken

COPAKE—After years of court proceedings in pursuit of justice for all the wrongs perpetrated in Copake by Salvatore Cascino, the town is now taking a new tact to resolve three of Mr. Cascino’s still outstanding building violations.

Following an executive session to discuss legal matters at the March 9 Town Board meeting, board members voted unanimously to authorize Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer to enter into a stipulation settlement agreement with the town’s most notorious scoundrel.

A convicted felon and serial scofflaw, Mr. Cascino, 77, of Larchmont in Westchester County, has spent the past 19 years racking up violations of federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating at a place he calls Copake Valley Farm. The pending settlement agreement, which still has to be signed by all parties and approved by Judge Jonathan Nichols, pertains only to Mr. Cascino’s illegal construction of three buildings in 2013: two large, square, flat-roofed, concrete-block buildings, sided with red wooden boards and one concrete-block garage near his house. Read more…