Hudson schools budget set at $52M for 2021-22

HUDSON—School District officials presented a proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year to the Board of Education at meetings April 13 and 20. The proposed budget of $52 million, with a 1.35% tax levy increase, faces voters in the school elections of May 18. The election will also include three board seats.

The proposal calls for state aid covering $25.3 million (48.4%) of the total, with local taxes contributing $24.5 million (46.8%), and other sources covering 4.8%. The total $52.2 million is 3.08% higher than the current budget and the tax levy 1.35% higher. The revenue sources are in line with previous years: about 95% divided almost evenly between state aid and local taxes.

Of the state aid, several categories depending on school enrollment will stay separate, despite proposals to combine them all into one category called “service aid,” reported school district Business Administrator Jesse Boehme approvingly. Read more…

Watts up? Valatie’s hydro plant returns

VALATIE—On April 26 at 1:46 p.m., the door to the waters of the Kinderhook Creek was opened and Valatie Falls Hydro began generating power for the first time since June of 2018. The plant is off of Route 203 at the entrance to Main Street in the Village of Valatie.

The Valatie Falls (VF) Hydro plant will be providing continuous power of approximately 160 kW and will eventually be providing direct energy to the village, as well as charging the electric vehicles of PlugIn Stations Online, according to a press release from company President John Doran.

“I think it’s going to be great for the village,” Valatie Mayor Frank Bevens told The Columbia Paper. He did say that currently the village could not use the power from the plant yet, but it will be good “when we are able to.” Read more…

Would you call this a board meeting?

The Chatham Skate Park, located in the Crellin Park on Route 66, was busy on Sunday, April 18. Chris Ross (pictured), from Orange County, has been skateboarding all over the country for about 20 years. Work to upgrade and renovate the skate park was completed last summer with a ribbon cutting in October of 2020. The skate park was created and funded by The Crellin Park Foundation in 2008. Photo by David Lee

Housing Authority poised to borrow for repairs

HUDSON—The Hudson Housing Authority (HHA), which runs the income-restricted Bliss apartments in Hudson, voted on April 14 to go into debt. The loan will be for $950,000 for 36 months from the Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M & T).

The money will be used to “upgrade and/or repair” the residential buildings. The HHA Board of Commissioners has determined that the physical condition of the buildings is “below optimal standards and a substantial renovation… is desirable,” according to the board’s resolution supporting the loan.

The buildings consist of Bliss Tower and three low-rise buildings on the same grounds. Bliss Tower has 120 units, and the low-rises together have 15 units, for a total of 135 units. The loan will be a precursor to a larger, longer-term loan that could be used to pay for construction. Read more…

Ghent nixes summer program; scolds Planning Board

GHENT—The Ghent Town Board voted at its April 15 meeting on Zoom to cancel the town summer program this year due to the pandemic. Supervisor Mike Benvenuto said that if something “miraculous happens,” the board can revisit opening the summer recreation program.

During discussion of the matter, Supervisor Benvenuto pointed out that the kids in the program would not be able to use Fox Hill in Austerlitz for swimming and could not go on field trips. But he stressed that the town plans to open the park and get the tennis court nets up. Town Board members Patti Matheney and Koethi Zan both voted “sadly” for canceling the program.

During a workshop meeting, held just before the regular meeting, also on Zoom, Councilman Charles Wood said he was talking to the Village of Chatham about the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a section of which runs from Ghent to the village. He said he talked to village Mayor John Howe about finding a board member who might be interested in working with the town on trail. The section of the trail in Ghent and Chatham is currently “in development,” according the Harlem Valley Rail Trail website, www.hvrt.org. Parts of the trail, along an abandoned railroad bed, are open in southern part of the county. Read more…