The City of Kingston will recognize Saugerties plumbers’ licenses, but they will charge the plumbers a fee to work in the city, Saugerties village code enforcement officer Eyal Saad has reported. “September 10, I met with the Kingston plumbing board,” he told the village board. “Since February 2019 they have decided that there is actually no written agreement for reciprocity between the village and the city, so they decided that while they are honoring the licenses of our licensed plumbers, the [Saugerties] plumbers will have to pay an extra $400 for a non-resident plumber.”
The village had believed it had a reciprocal agreement covering Saugerties plumbers working in Kingston and Kingston plumbers working in Saugerties, but “that doesn’t sound like reciprocity to me,” said mayor Bill Murphy.
“The only agreement they said they are willing to honor is that they will allow them to work, but they have to pay an extra $400,” Saad said. “I will have to meet with our plumbing board. We meet every five or six years.”
The new rules apply to other communities outside Kingston, not just Saugerties, Saad said. The reason Kingston gave was that “because we have a 25-question test and they have a 100-question test, our test is less good then theirs. My comment was I can make a one-question test that 90 percent of people can fail. It’s not a way to measure somebody’s skill.”
At his meeting with Kingston’s plumbing board, Saad learned about other charges as well. For instance, they are charging $75 per fixture. “If you want to put in a new faucet in your house,” Saad said, “you have to get a permit and you have to have a licensed plumber, which is kind of ridiculous.”
“The state and the county are promoting shared services, [but] then you have one municipality doing this to other municipalities,” said Murphy. “That’s not in the spirit of shared services.”
“It took them from February to September to tell me about this,” Saad complained. He had spoken to Kingston officials back in February, but “I had to hear about it from a plumber who got charged $400 for a one-time permit.”
Saad said he would speak with the Saugerties plumbing board about the situation.
“We’re not changing our rules,” Murphy told him. “We’re not reciprocating this unfairness.”
The removal, processing and final disposal of solid waste has been a topic of discussion at village board meetings for the past several months. The board has been discussing whether the income from outside haulers is greater than the additional costs. They’ve been debating possible changes in the way the village deals with waste brought in by outside haulers.
Trustee Terry Parisian has raised the question of whether the plant is bringing in as much as the budget shows from taking in septic-tank waste from outside haulers. The numbers may not entirely reflect the cost of processing this waste. As Parisian was not present at the board’s September 16 meeting, the other board members agreed to take up the issues at the following meeting on Monday, October 7.
Sewer plant superintendent Alphonse “Mike” Marino has presented a report to the board giving the history of the plant and the reasons it has been accepting outside waste, primarily from local haulers. The village plant’s design capacity of 1.3 million gallons per day initially included Glasco and Malden, which now have their own plants. The plant’s considerable excess capacity has allowed it to accept outside septage. The village has been charging a fee that nets the village about ten percent of the plant’s operating cost.
Trustees Don Hackett and Jeff Helmuth have stated that a plant cannot operate efficiently when processing a quantity of sewage far below its capacity. Parisian has questioned this analysis, and has asked for detailed records, which Marino has provided.
The outside septage does produce considerable income, Marino concedes, and he is not recommending that the village stop accepting it. The nature of the waste in the septage stream does, however, place an increased burden on the plant, increasing operating costs. The increased loading will require rebuilding of the pump and grinder system of the plant and well-maintained odor control.
Trustee Vincent Buono said he had spoken with Parisian, who said that the report does not address the true cost of handling the additional waste. “It’s hard to do that,” Marino said.
The board postponed the discussion until Parisian can be present to pose the questions himself. Marino said he would be happy to answer Parisian’s questions via email in the meantime.
In his regular monthly report, Marino said the plant took in 115,800 gallons of residential septage accepted from outside haulers last month, and received $13,896 in fees.
Bluestone contract signed
Special projects coordinator Alex Wade reported that a contract has been signed for the replacement by contractor John Mullen of bluestone on the sidewalks on Main Street near Partition Street. Wade has obtained a waiver allowing the slope to be maintained at three percent or less. One of the hang-ups on the job had been a requirement that the slope of the sidewalk be limited to one percent grade.
The change means that the job of leveling the sidewalks will be easier and less expensive.
A misunderstanding about the expiration date on the village’s highway permit for the job has also been straightened out, Wade states in his report. The bluestone replacement project is expected to start in early October and will take an estimated five to six weeks to complete.