Shakespeare & Company A Body of Water June-July 2024

Valatie firefighters make their case for new(-er) pumper

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VALATIE–The village Fire Department told the Village Board last week that one of the department’s trucks, a 1989 pumper, does not meet safety standards and would need over $11,000 in repairs before it could be put back into service. But the truck is only worth about $5,000, according to Valatie Fire Department Assistant Chief Joseph Loeffler.

He presented the board with a detailed report of the old truck’s problems and showed the board a 2015 demonstration truck used by the truck sales companies at firefighter shows. He said the vehicle is available for purchase.

Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons told the Fire Department representatives at the August 16 Village Board meeting that they would need to advertise for bids for a new truck. He said the company would need to come up with specifications for what they are looking for and that the village could start talking to different banks about financing project. He said the board could not approve the purchase of a truck at the meeting.

Mayor Diane Argyle said she’d already talked to one bank about issuing a bond to pay for a truck.

The board does not need to have a public hearing on the purchase but Mr. Fitzsimmons said that fire department officials could answer the public’s questions on a new truck at their next meeting. The board could open bids as soon as the September 12 meeting if the advertisement for bids is published soon.

Mayor Argyle questioned the need for another truck since the village participates in the mutual aid system with other local fire companies and the village already has three trucks–a ladder truck, a pumper and brush truck.

Mr. Loeffler said that not having trucks capable of meeting a certain amount of water capacity would affect the village insurance rating, which could increase the home insurance costs for village residents.

He also told the board that whatever happens with this truck, the board and the fire company “need to come up with a 10-year plan” for replacing old fire trucks. He said that in the past the vehicles have been “bought as we needed” them. He said having a plan would help future boards budget, saying “Whether it’s you sitting here or someone else, we can say: This is the plan.”

The fire department also announced that they made over $3,800 at the “boot drive” last month. Volunteers stood in the road at near the intersection of Main Street and Route 9 collecting donations during Village Wide Tag Sale Day.

The department is also having a warped floor in the fire house replaced soon. The state contributed some of the money for the project. Fire Company volunteer and Village Board member Frank Bevens said at the meeting the department is just waiting for some paperwork to be signed before the floor project goes forward.

Also at the meeting:

• The board asked their attorney to change the garbage pick-up laws to say that any property with four or more units would be classified as commercial and the landlord would take responsibility for removing the tenants’ trash. Mr. Fitzsimmons said that the new law would tell landlords: “We’re not going to pick it up if there are more than four units.”

The mayor said that there is an issue with paying for garbage tonnage and that the price of the garbage stickers residents put on their trash bags each week for pick up isn’t covering the tonnage cost. She said if the board does not make this change, the board would have to raise garbage sticker prices again for residents. “I don’t want to do that,” she said of the sticker prices.

“This will eliminate some garbage on Main Street,” she said of garbage being put out by apartments. The board will still need to have public hearing to change the local law. The board did not set a date for the public hearing

• The mayor said she went to a public meeting at the Ichabod Crane High School recently on the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. National Grid has agreed to allow the state’s Greenway program to create a trail along its right-of-way, which goes through the Village of Valatie into the Village of Kinderhook. The state anticipates paying for the $35- to $45-million project, but trail maintenance would be the responsibility of the municipalities the trail runs through. Mayor Argyle said the trail would be good for village and for businesses in the village. “We have groups already volunteering to maintain this trail,” she said

• Mayor Argyle said she’s meeting with the mayor of Kinderhook and the supervisors of the Towns of Kinderhook and Stuyvesant about state grant money for looking into recreational uses along the Kinderhook Creek, which is now a state inland waterway. She said the plan would look at kayak launches on River Street Park in the village.

The next village meeting will be Tuesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com

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