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Fire’s fallout: Does village need a DPW?


KINDERHOOK–Mayor Carol Weaver announced at the July board meeting that the Village Board had received a petition from residents who want a committee to look into the future of the village Department of Public Works (DPW) and the possibility of sharing services with the town.

Several residents attended the July 8 meeting as Mayor Weaver discussed the petition with the board. The residents’ petition also asked that future discussion of the DPW to be open to the public and involve community input.

The village DPW building burned down May 25 in an accidental fire. Most of the DPW equipment was lost. Since then, the DPW crew has been using equipment barrowed from the town and other municipalities. DPW Superintendent David Booth said at the meeting that the remains of the building had just been torn down.

Mayor Weaver said that board meetings were always open to the public and if the board was meeting about the DPW plans, the meeting would be announced in the local press, as well as on the village website and bulletin board. She said the board plans to “get together some cost and prices” to share with the public.

“We’ll get our figures together and I would like to talk to the Village of Valatie and the town,” she said. Many years ago, Valatie, which is also in the Town of Kinderhook, dissolved its DPW and has a contract with the town for public works services.

During the public comment period of the July 8 Village Board meeting, residents urged the mayor to look at the options available to the village for replacing the DPW.

“It merits serious consideration,” said resident Bonnie Shannon. Another resident said the village spends nearly $200,000 a year on its DPW while Valatie only spends $83,000 on the contract it has with the town.

Mayor Weaver said that Valatie “does not get the services we get in the village.”

Resident and developer Paul Calcagno said that if the board is going to compile DPW costs, the board should make sure to include everything the DPW does. He mentioned the department’s work caring for the flowers on the village square.

Also at the meeting:

  • The board is allowing Stuart Peckner, owner of N. P. Trent Antiques on Hudson Street, to put a sign directing people to his business on the paved part of the Village Square during events. The board allowed him to put the sign out over a 90-day period as the Planning Board reviews the zoning laws for sign. Mr. Peckner said that his entrance is often blocked by tents and other things during the Farmers’ Market
  • Village Board voted to pay $98 a month for a “Port-a-let” to be placed in the Post Office parking lot from now to October, to be used a public toilet during village events and the weekly Farmers’ Market. In the motion the board included the requirement that the toilet be cleaned once a week. Mayor Weaver is also researching a design for an outdoor public bathroom near the Village Square
  • The village Comprehensive Plan Committee is hosting a workshop meeting to get community input on Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m. at the village firehouse. The meeting is open to public.

The next board meeting is August 12 at 7:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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