Long Energy Where "Service" Counts

Chatham taps new source of liquid funds

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CHATHAM – The Village Board held a public hearing Thursday to discuss raising the installation fees for water service, and during the regular meeting that followed, board members adopted the new rates.

The June 24 meeting Board also saw discussion of the contract between the village and Charter Communications for cable television service, a vacancy on the Planning Board and the new sludge machine at the sewage treatment plant.

During the water rate hearing Mayor Paul Boehme said the water installation fees had not changed in 20 years and the village has “had trouble getting grants because our water rates are so low.” Different rates apply to village residents, commercial buildings and applicants outside the village boundaries. Residential installation fees will now be $700, an increase of $300 above the old rate. The new water service installation application form also says: “Where it is necessary to carry water pipes from the water main to the curb and where it is necessary to remove the pavement on any street or highway, the charge shall be $1,400.” The old rate was $600.

“We’re just trying to keep up with the costs,” said Trustee George Grant, who also serves at the village Water and Sewer Commissioner.

Mr. Grant reported to the board that the new dehydrator, which processes the sewage to make sludge, has exceeded all their expectations. “This is a very thrifty machine,” he said. The machine only needs to run three days a week with minimal staff involvement. The sludge that is processed is mixed with wood chips and used for topsoil, which saves the village the cost of transporting its sludge to a transfer station in Albany for disposal.

The village approved purchasing the new machine last year in an effort to help resolve problems with its sewage treatment operation, which the state Department of Environmental Conservation said do not comply with state standards. Most of the problems have to do with what village officials describe as inflow and infiltration into the sewer system.

The village will be sending out a letter with water bills this month, warning villagers to disconnect sump pumps currently hooked into the village sanitary sewer system. If sump pumps are found, owners will face a $250 fine.

Also this week Trustee Lael Locke told the board that Robert Trevellyan will be leaving the Planning Board. The village plans to advertise for applicants to fill the position, with the final appointment made by a majority of the board. But Village Board members do not plan to appoint anyone to replace Mr. Trevellyan before the Planning Board completes its review of the application for a new Stewart’s Shop and gas station on Route 203.

The Stewart’s application is scheduled to come before the Planning Board Monday, July 19, said Ms. Locke. The Planning Board has been talking with representatives from Stewart’s for several months. A member of the Planning Board said after the village meeting, that planners had asked Stewart’s to provide more information and that the July 19 meeting will give Stewart’s an opportunity to answer questions already raised about the project. After that, the meeting will be opened to public comment.

The Village Board approved contract with Charter Communications to be the cable provider for the village. Though no one on the board seemed very supportive of the motion for the contract, they said they couldn’t find any other company to provide the service. “We’ve asked everyone,” said the mayor.

The next board meeting will be 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 8, at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com.

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