The Saugerties village budget is close to complete, trustee Vincent Buono announced Monday, March 18. “We do have to tweak it here and there, but we’re pretty close to where we were last year, with the budget” said Buono at the regular meeting of the village board. “We anticipate no increase in taxes, so that’s a good thing.”
He added, however, that there was still some work to be done on the budget, “so stand by.” Mayor William Murphy proposed that the board hold a public hearing on the budget at its next regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on April 1. Several trustees noted that this auspicious date was April Fool’s Day.
Trustee Terry Parisian asked about the handling of an $80,000 grant through AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities). The governor took the funding out of the budget, but the legislature reinstated it. According to a table provided online by the state comptroller’s office, the village was slated to receive $28,687 in AIM funding, and the town $85,125. Municipalities are also slated to receive money to cover road repairs caused by the severe weather. Buono said this money will be incorporated into the budget.
Zoning-change hearing postponed
Trustee Terry Parisian moved that the decision on a zone change requested by Richard Rothe for his property on Teetsel Street be postponed indefinitely while the board studied the most appropriate zoning for the entire area off the Main Street corridor.
The board has until near the end of May to vote on a proposed change. Parisian amended his motion to propose that the board hold off voting on the proposal until the later date in order to determine whether a change in zoning from commercial to residential was warranted, and if so how much property should be incorporated in it.
Trustee Jeannine Mayer said the village does need housing for middle-income residents. “We aren’t voting on this project,” she said. “We’re voting on a change in the zoning, and we don’t want to spot zone [change the zoning on a single parcel in a district]. The people at the meeting were concerned about the traffic, and stuff, which is a legitimate concern. In my opinion, if we change it to anything it should be R1 (single-family houses). It’s residential.”
Parisian said that the board should be looking at the entire area, not just the one parcel. “I think we need to go all the way from Elizabeth Street down through [the area] and see what makes sense. As Jeannine said, we are not voting on the project.” Rothe was still going to have to go through variances, special-use permits, the SEQRA [State Environmental Quality Review] “and all that stuff.” Parisian said he had asked for the postponement so the village board could do its due diligence “to make sure that if we do change that we are changing it to the right zone and the right application.”
Trustee Donald Hackett was concerned that the board may be required to go through environmental studies, and there could be time constraints as well. Murphy pointed out the 60-day requirement following the public hearing. The board had held the public hearing open through the meeting on March 19, meaning the board had until May to make a determination.
The board voted to postpone the decision on the zone change until 62 days following the closing of the public hearing, and then voted to close the public hearing.
Reports of water leaks continue
In January, water superintendent Mike Hopf estimated that as much as ten percent of the water produced in the village plant was mysteriously vanishing. He estimated that the village losses averaged about 80 gallons per minute. The village has scheduled a meeting with New York Leak Detect, a private contractor; to do a system-wide audit.
There is also a suspected water leak in Barclay Heights. “None of the testing that has been done to this point confirms that it’s a leak,” Hopf said. “None of our data. The water we send to the town is metered and none of that has indicated that there is a leak over there.”
A resident in the Glasco area has water coming up in his back yard, Hopf said, but it has not been determined whether that is a leak. “There’s water coming out of the ground like it would from a leak,” he said. But tests, including digging up part of the line, has shown no dampness that would indicate a leak.
A leak on the 16-inch transmission line that was identified and repaired on Route 212 on March 14 was the result of a failed repair clamp. The leak was fixed the same day. Water was provided through a twelve-inch transmission line, and there was no loss of service to customers, Hopf said.