Villages agree to share inspector for another year

ALTAMONT — Altamont has signed on for another year of sharing Glenn Hebert with Voorheesville. Hebert fills the role of building administrator, code enforcement officer, and fire code enforcer for Altamont.

By unanimous vote on Tuesday night, the village board approved a one-year agreement with Voorheesville that will extend the shared services first agreed to in December 2014.

Hebert is to work 35 hours per week at an annual salary of $44,129.33, according to the agreement; 30 of those hours will be in Voorheesville and five in Altamont.

Asked about the disparity, Altamont’s mayor, James Gaughan, said that Voorheesville is bigger.

Altamont, a village in the town of Guilderland, covers 1.2 square miles. Voorheesville, in the neighboring town of New Scotland, covers 2.14 square miles. According to the last federal census, in 2010, Altamont has 1,720 residents and Voorheesville has 2,789 residents.

Altamont is to reimburse Voorheesville 14.3 percent of the costs, including salary, benefits, workers’ compensation, insurance, training and phone — for a total of $11,928.65.

Gaughan told The Enterprise that Hebert had been a part-time building inspector for Voorheesville before the two villages worked out their agreement.

When Altamont, in the past, had used the town of Guilderland’s building inspector, the village had paid him a salary of $27,000, Gaughan said. More recently, Altamont had entered into a shared-services agreement with the town but, Gaughan said, the building inspector wasn’t in the village in the evenings to attend zoning and planning board meetings, said Gaughan. “It didn’t work out.”

Under the new agreement, Hebert is to hold office hours in Altamont Village Hall at least three hours each week on Monday evenings to work with residents and prepare for monthly meetings. He is also to attend all the village’s planning board and zoning board meetings.

His duties as a building inspector and code enforcement officer are wide and varied. He is to administer and enforce the village’s zoning codes. He is to coordinate subdivision, site plan, and special-use permit applications with the village and other government agencies.

He is also to “give substantive review” to all new village subdivision applications and direct applicants to change their plans based on village code requirement. Similarly, he is to review all site plan and special-use permit applications and direct applicants to meet requirements, preparing notices for public hearings. And he is also to review all applicants for zoning or building permits and approvals, making decisions on the need for variances.

Beyond this, Hebert serves as Altamont’s code enforcement officer, conducting fire inspections of all commercial and multiple dwelling buildings as the state requires. Six other fire-code duties are listed, ranging from issuing burning permits to providing fire and public-safety education.

Gaughan said that the village used to pay Guilderland’s fire inspector $1,800 to work for Altamont but that Hebert fulfills these duties “in his down time.”

Kathryn Provencher, a member of Altamont’s zoning board, addressing the village board at the start of its Tuesday meeting, said, “It seems like maybe there’s a need for more time.”

“In this contract, we have increased it,” responded Gaughan, noting the target was to have Hebert available when “for a time of day people can be there.” He added, “We’re trying to be flexible.”

Trustee Kerry Dineen said, “We have a six-month reassessment.”

The agreement says it will be reviewed semi-annually, next on or about June 1.

Hebert could not be reached for comment. The mayor said he was out of state, attending to the birth of his grandchild.

Other business

In other business, the board:

— Received a building department report from Hebert for the months of October and November noting 18 inspections, 11 permits closed, 5 permits, a lighting complaint, two monthly census reports, 92 phone calls and 29 emails. He kept 16 office hours, attended one village board meeting, and issued one monthly report;

— Received an annual report on the village parks from volunteer Keith Lee, the mayor’s spouse. He commend the volunteers who work on the parks and said, “We’re always, always looking for volunteers.”

His report notes, “As 2016 appears to be taking its place as the warmest year yet recorded, so too was the growing season one of the driest. The gardens held their own, but with the lack of sufficient or timely moisture, little was added to the growing spaces this wear”;

— Received a report from Altamont’s fire chief, Paul Miller, that the volunteers had seven calls in November, for a total of 35 hours of service: two calls to Knox to help lift a large man into an ambulance, one false alarm on Upper Wedgewood; one “culinary mishap” on Maple Avenue, filling the house with smoke; one stand-by in Altamont’s station for Knox; one water leak on Dutch Hill Terrace; and one false alarm at the Albany Country Club.

The board also approved, and congratulated, the officers elected by the fire department members on Nov. 7 — Miller as chief, and Kyle Haines as assistant chief;

— Heard from Altamont’s police chief, Todd Pucci, that from Nov. 1 to May 1, there is to be no parking on village streets from midnight to  7 a.m. There was not much snow last year, and warnings were left on cars, he said, stressing that, when there is a snowstorm, “real tickets” will be issued if cars are parked in streets overnight;

— Heard from Tim Hagerott, commander of the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, that the post has been cleaning brush from its property and plans to put “small artillery...not something children can climb on” on its island off of Mill Street.

“The Army says it takes three years,” he said, to acquire such artillery. “The island is our property.”

“They used to have a tank at Cindy’s,” said Judi Dineen from the gallery, referring to Cindy Pollard’s Home Front Café on Main Street.

“Talk to the building inspector so we’re all in line,” said Gaughan;

— Judi Dineen told the board that there are “many, many dog owners in the village” and suggested a dog park. Gaughan noted that the late Christine Marshall, who had been a trustee and dog lover, had looked into it. “We’d have to look at it comprehensively,” he said, concluding that it was “certainly worth a discussion”;

— Approved village water for a single-family house at 2 Arden Way. The capital charge for the new service connection is $2,500; the main tap is at the owner’s expense;

— Appointed Wayde Bush to be alternate member of the village’s planning board, a post formerly filled by Deborah Hext;

— Authorized Gaughan to sign a change order with Barton & Loguidice for a project fixing a culvert on Brandle Road. “The creek bed needed to be attended to,” said Gaughan. “The construction company couldn’t achieve it before close of season.” So, he said, the village staff did the work and now the village will get a credit for $5,500; and

— Accepted, with regret, Stewart Linendoll’s resignation from the zoning board. The mayor thanked Linendoll for “literally decades of work” and said, “We will miss him.”

His term expires in 2018 and the board appointed alternate Michael LaMountain to fill the post. The vote was unanimous, including his daughter’s, Trustee Madeline LaMountain.

More Guilderland News

  • “We have been challenged to not only reinvent what we do for an online platform, but innovate at the same time,” said Timothy Wiles, director of the Guilderland Public Library. The library is proposing a $4 million budget, drafted before the coronavirus shutdown. Residents of the Guilderland Central School district will vote through mail-in ballots that must be returned by June 9.

  • Three incumbents — Herb Hennings, Mark Keeling, and Phil Metzger — are running to keep their seats on the Guilderland Public Library Board of Trustees. They are being challenged by Marcia Alazraki and Richard Rubin.

  • Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber is expecting a 20-percent reduction in sales-tax revenues for the second quarter, which amounts to a loss of about half-of-a-million dollars. But, he said, the town, is “in fairly good shape” financially since it has “healthy reserves,” which he described as being “in the millions of dollars.” He has no immediate plans to lay off or furlough town workers.

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