CHATHAM – Water was the topic of discussion at the Village Board meeting last week, with the board once again is warning people to unhook their sump pumps from sanitary sewer or risk paying a fine.
The Thursday, July 8, meeting was held during the recent heat wave and before the rain that fell for a while Saturday morning. Trustee Leal Locke, who was unable to attend the meeting, sent a letter about the newly planted trees on Main Street, which village Clerk Carol Simmons read aloud. Ms. Locke said the trees desperately needed water and looked like they were going to die.
“I don’t want to see us pass the buck,” Ms. Locke wrote about the trees, which were planted by the state Department of Transportation contractor at the end of the recent road and storm sewer repair project in the village, and local officials say the state remains responsible for the care of the trees. Ms. Locke praised local business owners who have been watering the trees and said that she contacted Callander’s Nursery to find out the cost of a watering service.
“This is DOT’s problem,” said Mayor Paul Boehme. He said state workers came to water trees last week. “There are no trees in this village that are dying,” he added. But he and other board members discussed the lack of rain in the village.
Trustee David Chapman described the dry looking trees as “part of the natural way of things.”
Trustee George Grant, the village water and sewer commissioner, said that they village is not experiencing a drought but that water flow in the system was under the normal amount. He asked people to conserve water. Mr. Grant asked that if people want to water their lawns they do so in the early morning or in the evening.
“A little common sense goes a long way,” he said of conserving water.
Though people had no need to use them last week, Mr. Grant again stressed that residents must stop letting their basement sump pumps drain into the village sanitary sewer system. Letters went out with the last water bill advising customers that if a home has a sump pump connected to the sewer system and the village finds it, the homeowner could be fined up to $250.
Mr. Boehme said the village is willing to help residents who may not know whether or not their sump pump is draining into the sewer system. The village has been dealing with overflow issues in the system, which is exacerbated by the outflow from private sump pumps.
Tom Curran attended last week’s meeting to talk about the outdoor art project in the village. The sculptures by several different artists have now been temporarily installed on the lawn along the west side of Hudson Avenue and will remain on display through the fall. But one of the sculptures was subsequently vandalized. In an email from Mr. Curran he said the artist of the piece that was tampered with was upset and called it a “negative scenario.”
Also at Thursday’s meeting the mayor mentioned the plan to create village parking behind Main Street next to the train tracks. He said the village is about to finalize the deal. The village is also in the final stage of planning new sidewalks for Woodbridge Avenue paid for through a federal grant intended to help the village make the walk to school safer for students.
The next village meeting will be Thursday, August 12, at 7:30pm in the Tracy Memorial. The Planning Board will meet Monday, July 19, to discuss the proposed Stewart’s Shop on Route 203.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email email@example.com.