Voorheesville has a new trustee and is juggling myriad concerns

The Enterprise — Sean Mulkerrin

Voorheesville’s newest Trustee, Kaitlin Wilson, is administered the oath of office by village Clerk-Treasurer Linda Pasquali. Wilson is the daughter of Voorheesville’s former mayor, Robert Conway. 

VOORHEESVILLE — The village board searched far and wide before settling on a trustee replacement for Rich Straut, who took over as mayor for Bob Conway when he stepped down on July 1 with nine months left in his term. 

Straut’s replacement will be Conway’s daughter, Kaitlin Wilson.

Trustees entered into executive session at their July 27 meeting to discuss possible litigation and Wilson was not immediately available to discuss her unanimous appointment to the board. 

The Tuesday meeting was packed with pieces of public interest:

— Mayor Straut said he spoke with Albany County Commissioner of Public Works Lisa Ramundo who told him that the county has “stalled,” or “slowed down” its engineering plans for the Quiet Zone because the county doesn’t want to get too far ahead of CSX and Norfolk Southern’s plans for their Main Street crossing.  

The village filed a letter on July 20, expressing its concerns and asking the federal regulator to reject CSX’s proposal to Pan Am Railways, headquartered in North Billerica, Massachusetts. 

Within a day of Voorheesville’s filing the letter, Norfolk Southern and CSX reached out to the village to set up meetings.

The village’s letter to the federal Surface Transportation Board was shared with senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Paul Tonko, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, and representatives from the state’s Department of Transportation;

— Straut said Main Street sewer project plans are nearly permit-ready.

Voorheesville originally received a $400,000 state grant but that “got whittled down” to $231,000 because of the size of the project, said Trustee Sarita Winchell. 

The village will also allocate $283,000 in federal American Rescue Plan dollars toward the project. There was then discussion about how to pay for the rest of the multi-million-dollar project. 

Straut said he wanted to have a couple of public meetings to explain the project to residents at the end of August and the start of September;

— Voorheesville will pursue grant funding for other village sidewalk projects in the near future. The village will be targeting Pine Street, finishing off Maple Avenue sidewalks, extending North Main walks; and laying sidewalk on Mountainview Street;

— The board of trustees heard from James Porter, a 32-year Pine Street resident, who brought up concerns about the scorched-earth tactics used by the state’s Department of Transportation to maintain its property along Pine Street;

— The village will apply for a grant for an ultra-violet system at its wastewater treatment facility.

Altamont’s Department of Public Works chief has said he wouldn’t be surprised to see UV systems run to nearly $100,000;

— There’s a water issue on West Street, a lot of breaks — a permanent solution is needed;

—  The village DPW spent $5,000 for a new motor at one of the three wells that provides the village water after it was determined that the motor could not be fixed;

— The board OK’d cameras being installed at the Voorheesville firehouse; and

— State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli and State Senator Hinchey made the rounds in the village and town of New Scotland recently, Straut said, and were interested in hearing how local businesses weathered the pandemic.


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