The regular meeting of the Saugerties village board on April 20, conducted via Cisco Webex, included reports of how every village department was dealing with the coronavirus.
Water superintendent Mike Hopf reported that the water department is working on a rotating schedule, with employees alternating hours, keeping a minimum needed to keep the operation going and maintain services. Workers report on a rotating schedule for weekday work, with a part-time worker on weekends. Normal spring maintenance has been slowed or put on hold. Replacement of a worker who left has also been on hold until face-to-face interviews can be held.
Late fees for water bills have been put on hold through May 1. Hopf asked the board to consider waiving them at least through June 1, “given the hard times that everyone is going through; the unemployment.” Following Hopf’s report, the board voted to extend the deadline for payment of water/sewer bills to June 1.
On a more cheerful note, Hopf said the fishing season began on April 1, and people are allowed to fish if they maintain a safe distance from each other. “The DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation) opened the Plattekill Creek and opened the gates on Van Vlierden Road to anglers,” Hopf said.
Trustee Donald Hackett reported that the wastewater department, like the water department, is staggering shifts, with half the work force on and half off in alternating weeks. The sewer treatment plant, considered an essential service, must be staffed. The plant, which has six members on its staff, is operating with three on in alternating weeks, Hackett said. So far, the plant is running without problems, he said.
Fire chief Chris Wade reported that the fire department has been developing procedures to meet the challenges of the virus. “The main focus has been protecting the health and safety of our members, without compromising fire protection and emergency services,” Wade told the village board. Among the steps the department has taken are limiting personnel time on the apparatus, limiting contact with the public except in emergencies, and cleaning and disinfecting apparatus after every call.
“We’re keeping up our training as much as we can; we’ve switched to an online training program,” Wade said. “We had 74-and-a-half hours of training in last month.”