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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 23, 2005

Krumkill neighbors worry about water as developer proceeds

By Holly Grosch

NEW SCOTLAND — Homeowners along Krumkill and Font Grove roads filed into Town Hall last Tuesday asking what the planning board was going to do to safeguard their limited water supply. A developer is going to start drilling, looking for locations for six wells for six $500,000 to $700,000 homes at the intersection of the two roads.

Planning board Chairman Robert Stapf said, "We can’t prevent someone from drilling on their own property." The applicant has the right to put a well on his lot as well, Stapf said.

The county’s health department requires that standards are met for sanitary waste disposal and water before a building permit can be issued, Stapf said.

If land is to be divided into five or more lots, and those lots are less then 5 acres, then the wells must be approved by the health department, said Steve Lukowski of Albany County’s health department.

In this case, the proposal is to split 13.9 acres into six lots ranging in size from two to three acres.

The town will not issue a developer a building permit until it receives notice from the health department, Stapf said. This development is contingent upon water being found, and it’s a big "if," Stapf said.

Each house requires its own well on its own lot.

Planning board member Douglas LaGrange pointed out that if not enough water can be found, then the proposed housing layout would have to change.

Lyon Greenberg of Krumkill Road said, when he obtained water 38 years ago, he dug three wells, one each at 350 feet, 450 feet, and 150 feet; then, at the other end of his farm he dug five more wells before finding enough water for just one well sufficient for his house. Finding enough water for six wells, while possible, is not likely, he said.

The health department requires a well for a single-family dwelling to supply two to five gallons of water per minute.

The last well to be drilled in this area was for adjacent property owner Stephanie Martin. Her well is 300 feet deep and produces three gallons a minute, she said.

"In New York State, there is no right-to-water law," said Lukowski

A homeowner of 38 years has no more right to the underground water supply than a new neighbor exploring for water, he said.

The county health department can’t require a developer to test a neighbor’s well to see how the new well impacts another’s well, Lukowski said; the county does not have the authority to require an adjacent property owner to open up his land and well to be tested.

"We can’t require something when it needs the permission of someone else," Lukowski said.

Other neighbors also spoke of water scarcity. Lori Kenny, whose property is on the southern side of the 13.9 acres, said that there are five wells on her property but only one that pumps.

Jim Finnigan, who has lived at 2 addresses near each other on Hilton Road said that he drilled 4 wells, 300 feet deep, to find water for his residence.

Finnigan asked if all six of the new wells will be pumped simultaneously to see the effect on each other.

If all six nearby wells can sustain their own yield, that’s a good test to determine if there is an adequate water source, Lukowski said. If one of the six wells doesn’t affect any of the other five, he added, it’s very likely that the other neighboring wells aren’t affected either.

Stapf stated that one of the reasons this land has not yet been developed is because of the lack of water.

Failed wells

Jim McMann, who lives on Font Grove Road, said the property directly next to him, which is just 500 feet way from the proposed half-million-dollar homes, tried to subdivide previously but, after drilling six wells in search of water, the developers did not find enough adequate water and never proceeded with the construction.

Now, McMann said, next to his lot there are six wells with stagnant water which is literally onky 500 feet away from the site of the million-dollar homes where they are planning to drill six to 10 more wells, he said.

He is concerned about the ground disturbance that is created by drilling, and all the contaminants in stagnant water left in the shafts of the abandoned wells.

Stapf said, while he won’t comment on the wells on a different parcel that aren’t sealed, one thing the planning board can do for this project is require that the applicant seal off the unused wells on the property.

McMann also said that, after the neighboring lot had been drilled, McMann’s well became contaminated with methane and sediments; he spent over $6,000 to get usable water again. If this happens again, McMann asked, what right does an existing homeowner have"

"What happens in the ground is beyond me," Stapf said. All the town can do is make sure the applicant uses proven methods to drill and uses a licensed certified well driller as required by law.

The health department doesn’t search the county looking for abandoned wells, Lukowski said; while they hope abandoned wells have caps on them, health department enforcement picks up when that property comes before them for some sort of approval, which is needed in this case for a subdivision and building permit.

This New Scotland development will not receive health-department approval if the unworkable wells are not capped, Lukowski said.

The risk is that a contaminant can be dropped into an un-sealed well, Lukowski said. But, as long as an abandoned well is capped then that eliminates the potential of something getting in, and posing a risk to the water supply.

Other concerns

Martin, whose property touches the proposed construction site, said that, besides the concern of the new houses sucking up the water table, she is concerned about the drilling disturbing the ground. "I don’t have sulfur now. Is that something that may show up later"" she asked.

The residents called on the planning board to require an independent contractor, to verify the wells’ percolation, and to test the effect on neighboring wells.

Stapf said that he will discuss with legal counsel and the town’s engineering firm what the planning board can do.

Well-drillers are licensed by the state and if they are in flagrant violation, they will lose their license, Stapf said.

Bossolini said, "County health is very rigorous in their evaluation and monitoring of the contamination of wells."

The applicant has the right to drill 20 wells if it wants in search for water, but drilling wells is very expensive, Stapf said.

Bossolini said his client hopes to only have to drill one well for each house.

At some point, Stapf said, a developer has to factor in the cost of drilling well after well and the expected profit made from the selling of the homes.

He said that in this situation, the applicant has agreed to pay for and participate with the town on doing some well monitoring, which they are not required to do at all.

Next month the board and the applicant will discuss guidelines for well monitoring, sulfur and contamination, and the effects of pounding versus drilling a well, said Stapf.

There is a desire to "stay away from hydrofracturing — that has been a problem in the past in this area," Stapf said.

"We’ll discuss this at the next meeting, not saying requirements, but would like to discuss them," he stated very clearly.

Francis Bossolini, the developer’s engineer, said that his clients want to get a rigger out there and start drilling soon and asked if Stapf’s request to discuss these issues next month effect his clients ability to start drilling.

Stapf responded that the landowner can do what he wants, and has the right to drill.

The only thing he knows that the board can stipulate is that the unused holes be plugged.

Stapf told The Enterprise after the meeting that he was going to leave the well-monitoring up to the town’s engineering firm, who are experts.

How it’s done

Lukowski said that there are two ways to make a well — drilling and pounding.

A rotating drill has a bit that goes down and around into the ground; the churned soil could seal off water by sealing up fractures and fissures.

Pounders literally pound a hole in the ground, with the possibility of sealing water-bearing aquifers.

Hydrofraction doesn’t have anything to do with construction of the well hole but is a method used when the well is already drilled, Lukowski said. A driller pumps water at high pressure into the well to push the water through and to force the water out in order to open up new fractures and fissures or to connect to nearby fractures or fissures to increase the water flow into that well.

Lukowski said he hasn’t seen hydrofracturing cause any kind of contamination. The only way hydrofracturing could contaminate the underground water source is if the water the driller is pumping into the well is contaminated water that’s being pushed through the underground waterways.

Lukowski said that pounding or drilling a well may, for a short time, disrupt soil until it has a chance to settle again, and the health department recommends homeowners regularly sample their water.

If residents knows drilling in thier neighborhood is about to start, then they can take a baseline of the water and document any changes in water quality during drilling and after. It would be difficult to prove though, that the changes in water quality were a direct result of the drilling, Lukowski conceded, but there may be short-term changes such as cloudiness, until the aquifer stabilizes.

There is no limit on how far down a developer can drill for water but, Lukowski said, "the deeper they drill, the slimmer their chances of finding water," and that water is usually inferior.

Zoning laws

Are there any zoning techniques a town could use to preserve limited water supplies"

Some zoning districts in New Scotland already make a distinction between on-site wells as opposed to public water. For example, in the town’s 1995 zoning law, an area of town zoned residential-agriculture that has lots with public sewer has a minimum lot size of 33,000 square feet, while areas with on-site water set the minimum higher at 44,000 square feet.

The proposed development at Krumkill and Font Grove Roads is in a residential conservation district (R-2), which does not differentiate what the home’s water supply will be. However, the lot sizes are large in this district all around regardless of water supply; the minimum lot size is 2 acres or about 87,000 square feet. A 1-acre single-family home can be built for each 11 acres in the parcel; then the remainder of the parcel has to be divided into at least 2 acres or larger lots.

Paul Cantlin, New Scotland’s zoning administrator, said that this intersection was labeled as R-2, ten years ago so he doesn’t remember why town officials chose to make no distinction based on utilities for this district.

The obvious answer would be that town officials wanted to maintain large lots in this area of town, regardless of water supply.

The chairman of the Residents Planning Advisory Committee, John Egan, said that his committee did discuss at length zoning techniques to preserve the water supply of areas in town where it is limited, much like it discussed zoning to preserve rural land, but he said the committee could not reach a consensus to form a recommendation for the town.

Egan said the committee also discussed giving the planning board more specific authority when it came to the drilling of private wells in the planning process, such as having the authority to require the applicant to work with an independent evaluator to test the wells.

Approval for Moreau

The planning board approved David Moreau’s three keyhole lots, located on a 15-acre parcel on Youmans Road, behind three existing houses. He received subdivision approval, and special use permits.

He needed special-use permits because the houses are going to be built in what is the town’s commercial district.

Parents ask for smaller class sizes

By Holly Grosch

VOORHEESVILLE — Some parents of Voorheesville elementary students are requesting that an additional class be created for next years second graders to lower class sizes from 23. In a report, district administrators say that would not be feasible, and offer alternative solutions.

Forty-three parents submitted a petition to the school board last month, prompting the board to ask Superintendent Alan McCartney and elementary school principal Kenneth Lein to put together a report on the effects of smaller class sizes children in kindergarten through third grade, and on the district as a whole.

McCartney and Lein completed a seven-page report and distributed it to the petitioning parents.

In the report, Lein, who wrote it while McCartney helped with the research, compared the various national studies on class size and concluded that, in order for smaller class size to be effective in the long run, it has to be maintained through the first four early elementary years.

In order to reduce class size for kindergarten through third grade, Voorheesville would have to hire four more teachers, Lein said. It would also cause a space crunch in the building to the point where the district would no longer be able to house Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) classrooms and, as a result, receive no revenue from that, he said.

Additionally, Lein compared the district class sizes and fourth-grade English and Language Arts test scores to other Albany County districts, which showed that the school is doing well academically.

Parents’ response

Ed and Christin Wilcenski , parents of a soon-to-be second grader, were at the school board meeting this week.

Since the report states it’s not economically feasible to create another section, they asked, what is the next step the district is going to take"

Kindergarten through third grade are considered the fundamental years, when reading, writing, and math basics are instilled, the parents have stated.

"I’m not a academic. I don’t need a study. From my observation, 24 kids in class is too many," Mr. Wilcenski said. He went on to say that he thinks the children are well educated at Voorheesville, but he doesn’t want to wait for the education to fail before the school does something about the class size.

Mrs. Wilcenski said that, in the second week of school this year, she asked her daughter how she was liking school and her response was, "I really like my teacher but there are too many kids in the class."

Mrs. Wilcenski said she asked her daughter what she meant, and the first-grader said that all the kids couldn’t fit on the rug for story time. Wilcenski then asked her daughter why that mattered, and the little girl’s response was that then the students are not a part of the story.

Wilcenski said she didn’t want children to be feel left out.

She said, since Lein’s report said that it wasn’t economically feasible at this time to hire more teacher and to create more classes, what other incentives will be taken.

"Based on cost it seems funding would best be spent on continued training in instructional strategies and the development of environments that ensure keeping disciplinary issues to a minimum, " Lein wrote in the report. He also stated that, without well trained and enthusiastic teachers present, reducing class size alone will have little impact.

"It’s not easy to teach 24 students, it’s not easy to teach 16 either though," Lein said.

School board president Robert Baron said that the district becomes nervous about class size when kindergarten through third-grade class sizes reaches 25 students and grades four through five have 28 students.

Lein’s ideas

In an interview with The Enterprise on Tuesday, Lein said that his approach to combating the negative effects of larger class size is to make sure that there is always a second person in each class during the two-hour reading language block.

Often, there are teachers’ aids, and teaching assistants in and out of class rooms, and students are also pulled out of class for one-on-one or small-group reading instruction in the resource rooms, but, Lein said, he is going to work out a master schedule coordinating all four second-grade classes’ and teachers’ schedules so that, during reading workshops, there are at least two adults in the classroom. Lein said that wasn’t guaranteed this school year.

According to Lein’s plan, when one teacher is doing whole-group instruction, there won’t be aids or teaching assistants in that classroom. Instead, they will be next door with a teacher who is doing small-group work.

"There’s no exact science to reading," Lein said.

He wants to train teachers to work with a variety of techniques until they can find a way to help all students.

For example, halfway through this year, the first-grade students started a program called "Fun-damentals," which is about phonemic awareness using a multi-sensory approach, Lein said.

This summer, Lein will be constructing two book rooms, one for kindergarten through third grade and one for fourth through fifth, but they’re libraries where students go, he said. They’re resources for teachers, he said.

Lien said he has already allocated the space in the building and he is in the process of ordering subject books. Along with help of some volunteers, Lein will be labeling books from A to Z, A being the easiest level and Z being the most difficult reading level. When a teacher goes into the book room, there will be baskets and shelves with baggies full of 6 or so copies of the same book to be used students’ group-reading sessions.

This will help out lessen the teachers’ work load, Lein said. They won’t have to spend their time searching for different books for students with different reading abilities, he said.

Lein said it pains him to watch a student struggling with a book that is too difficult for her and to be forced to read out loud in a large group. In group of 6, students will be reading with other students at their level, he said.


A big part of success in kindergarten through third grade is achieved by reducing the typical young-child disciplinary issues, Lein said. Next year, Lien said, he is starting a new initiative called "respectful schools." It will "model what we expect" of the students, Lein said.

Just because a child does something wrong, such as pushing in line, it doesn’t mean that student should be in trouble, but it also doesn’t mean that teachers should ignore it.

Educators need to pay attention to the things that used to be labeled as "‘little things’, what used to be called ‘kids will be kids,’" Lein said.

"But we need to address it, we don’t want send the wrong message," Lein said.

When bullying is going on, it is important to stop it, and explain that, "We don’t want to do that because we respect each other here," Lein said.

"Reducing class size doesn’t guarantee" academic success, Lein said. "We’re not ignoring the issue" of the large class sizes, Lein said, "We have been paying close attention to it."

Proposal shot down: School buses at Saab site"

By Holly Grosch

VOORHEESVILLE — The school districts transportation director, Michael Goyer, proposed to the school board Monday that the district buy the now-vacant Saab dealership building on Route 85, and the 10 acres that goes with it, for a new bus garage. His proposal was quickly shot down by the board members, primarily saying that the location and building was too expensive.

The Saab dealership land is appraised at $2.8 million, Goyer said. He was excited about this location because then the bus facility would have a wash bay, which it does not have now; good visibility for pulling out on to the road; and a place for district offices. A security system with cameras is already in place and the building is only 13 years old, he said.

Goyer, in his pitch to the board, did point out a few setbacks to this location. The bus garage would be 2.8 miles away from the elementary school, and 4.3 miles away from the high school. Also the building would need renovations to accommodate the buses including raising the roof. The existing parking lot is also shaped like an "L," but Goyer said he sees this as a good opportunity.

Board member James Coffin said a major purchase such as this needs a lot of thought. Board member Paige Macdonald said that the reason the value of the property is high is because of the "fanciness of the building and because its in a commercial district."

It might be cheaper to build a brand-new building without perks at another location, closer to the school, not in a prime commercial district, she said.

Goyer said the transportation study done in 1997 said that it would cost over $2 million to build a new garage for Voorheesville.

"We don’t need road frontage on a major highway," board member John Cole said. He said the district could buy land on Depot Road more cheaply.

"A bus garage is not a $2 million item," he said.

"All we need is a place to park — that’s all we need." Cole said then added, with a nod and a wash bay.

"I can’t see us ever using those offices for anything," agreed board member Richard Brackett.

The district has already spent a lot of money to keep the bus garage where it is said Board President Robert Baron. He also stated that it was one thing to buy a very expensive building but then another to have to then pay the additional costs of renovations. "The district won’t like to spend $3 million on a bus garage," he said, when that money could go to things in education.

He also said, "I’m certainly against district offices moving off campus." Most board members then gestured or spoke up in agreement.

"Sorry we came down on you so hard," Baron said to Goyer about squashing his idea.

Baron went on to say that they board could look at this building again a year from now, when the purchase price might be lower. Baron said he didn’t think the building was going anywhere soon.

The next night, Tuesday, at a separate meeting at New Scotland Town Hall, Chairman Robert Stapf urged town bard members to consider buying the Saab dealership to be the new town highway garage and to then use the offices for town government. He said that he thinks the nearly $3 million appraised value is not what the actual selling price will be and it will actually be cheaper.

New criteria for top scholars

The valedictorian and salutatorian for the class of 2007 should not be chosen solely for having the highest grades, according to the high school principal Mark Diefendorf, the site-based management team and most of the school board.

The school board has given the proposal a couple reads and plans to discuss it again next month.

As of now, the proposal reads that the top two positions in a graduating class will be determined by five factors, which receive various points.

The first criteria is the student’s over all grade point average.

Then students will receive so many additional points based on the number of Advance Placement, university, or honors classes they have taken. One point will be awarded for taking nine AP classes, two for 10, three for 11, four for 12 and five for 13 or more advanced classes.

The third criteria is to be well-rounded in extra-curriculum involvement, including clubs or sports teams. An individual can be awarded up to four points for extracurricular activities, which will be evaluated by the site-based management team. Points will be awarded based on the number of hours a student devotes to the activity or the activities that she participates in throughout the year.

The fourth criteria is community service hours beyond the ones required for a club and the ones required in order to graduate. A student will receive one point for 31 to 50 hours, two points for 51 to 70 hours, three points for 71 to 100 hours, and four points for 101 or more; those hours have to be evaluated and verified by the principal.

The fifth criteria is a simple one: A student, who is not in good standing with the clubs, teams or activities will not be eligible to be valedictorian or salutatorian.

The site-based management team suggested that ties for the number-one and number-two spot will be broken with the writing sample that a student submits for their college applications.

Board member Thomas McKenna suggested, at that point, just considering it a tie and naming co-valedictorians.

Principal Diefendorph said that he supported that.

School board member Brackett said he didn’t like the tie- breaking method because he considers judgment of writing to be subjective.

Prom policy

The board also discussed policies at this year’s prom, which was held at Franklin Plaza. Diefendorf said that two students surreptitiously exited Franklin Plaza through the back kitchen door, a breach of Franklin Plaza’s own rules, so, at the recommendation of the plaza’s security, those students were not allowed back into the prom.

Macdonald said that she did not agree with the decision because she thought it was wrong to treat Voorheesville students as if they were suspicious. She said that she thought that circumstances such as these is one of the reasons that the district brings a breathalyzer to events so that, if it is believed students are drinking, they would be given a breathalyzer test and sent home.

Diefendorf said there was no reason to believe that there was alcohol involved and the breathalyzer was not administered in this case. He added that the students said they went outside to use their cell phones.

Whenever the school goes to an off-campus location, the students have to follow that venue’s rules and all the students were well-informed ahead of time that, if they left the building, they would not be allowed back in, Diefendorf said. He went on to say, if a student needed to go to his car to get something or go outside to use his cell phone, then he asked a chaperone to accompany him out the front door.

Superintendent Alan McCartney said that a lot of venues such as hotels are no longer even allowing proms at their facilities because of the liability. The companies that are, including Franklin Plaza, have their own rules that the district must comply with, "because it’s their liability not the schools," McCartney said.

Macdonald said she saw this incident as the students being unjustly treated like criminals. She said that she or any adult wouldn’t like it if they left a country club to use a cell phone and then weren’t allowed back in.

Board member James Coffin said that there is a huge difference between 21-year-old adults and high-school students, and the expectations of adults and teenagers.

Cole said that he liked the entry-exit rule and that it was one that has been used in the past. He said the breathalyzer is only effective post incident when there is already a problem. "I would much rather have the exit-entry rule to prevent the use of substances," Cole said.

Other business:

In other business, the school board:

— Heard from Goyer, who is also the building and maintenance and operations director, that on Monday, due to three days of extremely high temperatures for the beginning of June, he took temperature readings across the elementary school’s rooms. The first floor was at 79 degrees, the second floor was 85, and the third floor was at 90. One classroom on the third floor, Mrs. Hamlin’s room, was at 94.

Kathy Fiero, president of the Voorheesville Teacher’s Association said, "The conditions are ridiculous" for both the students and employees and added that she couldn’t think of any other profession where 90-degree temperatures would be considered acceptable working conditions.

Goyer said that, for the morning, teacher Hamlin kept the students focused and on task but, by the afternoon, they were moved downstairs. Goyer said that the room was particularly hot because roof shingles deflect heat through the windows.

Brackett said that luckily the heat is supposed to break later in the week.

McCartney said that it is always hot this time of year but now the humidity is even worse.

The board mentioned bringing in fans. Baron said that the new univents need to be put in as soon as possible. This was one expense that the district gave as a reason for the need to set up the capital reserve fun. Assistant Superintendent for Business Sarita Winchell said the soonest the univents could be put in would be next year since the funding is expected to come out of the capital reserve fund.

—Listened to teacher and foreign-language department head, Robert Streifer, introduce Sedan, France, a new location for Voorheesville’s international exchange trip, scheduled for October of 2005. He said that 13 to 20 students have expressed interest in the exchange, and he anticipates 15 students enrolling.

Meter-reading snafu: School surprized by $50K bill

By Holly Grosch

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville School District has been paying the village $2,000 a year for public water. The Assistant Superintendent for Business Sarita Winchell announced this week that the school has just received a $50,000 water bill for this year. The district owes back payments.

"We weren’t reading all the meters," Winchell said. "We thought we were reading them correctly."

New water meters went in at the school in 2002, when the addition was added to the high school. There are two meters located at Clayton A. Bouton High with two readings on each meter. For the past three years, the district has only been reading one of the four readings, so essentially has only been paying a quarter of its actual bill.

"It’s time to pay the piper," Voorheesville village Mayor Jack Stevens told The Enterprise this week.

Stevens explained that the village physically sends an employee to each metered building every four years to read the meter. All the other years, the user records his own usage, Steven’s said that they split up the area they serve, into to four chunks and rotate which quadrant receives an official reading every four years.

This year, the cycle came to the school, and the village discovered the school’s error.

When the new meters were put in three years ago, they started at zero, so it’s easy to see how many gallons the school has used in the past three years and not paid for.

The main-line first reading, which has been accurately accounted and paid for all this time, read 799,200 gallons, he said. The second reading read 1,494,700 gallons; the third, 3,770; and the fourth, was 4,320,600 gallons.

Basically there are four water pipes, Stevens said.

Changing rates

Where things become a little more complicated is that last year, the village changed its water rates with the intention of making the larger users pay more and giving senior citizens and single people a break in their bills.

Previously, before last year, users paid $70 for the first 30,000 gallons. But, last year, the village lowered the minimum gallons of the flat rate. Now users pay $70 for 25,000 gallons, the larger users pay more through newly-created step increases.

For example, if a user consumes 25,001 to 100,000 gallons, then he pays $2.25 for every 1,000 gallons. Another example is that a user will pay $3 per every 1,000 gallons if he uses 300,001 to 400,000 and so on, up the step increment to the maximum of $4 per every 1,000 gallons if 500,001 gallons a year or more are used.

Anyone using over 100,000 gallons a year is considered a large user, Stevens said, which in Voorheesville means Atlas Copco and the school district.

Additionally, users who live outside of village limits have to pay double the rate for water. This means that Clayton A. Bouton High now has to pay $8 per 1,000 gallons, Winchell said.

School board members said that it would be cheaper to truck in water. The board also mentioned the option of drilling a well to water the athletic fields to cut back on purchasing needs from the village.

Stevens said that out-of-village users have always had to pay double; he said that it’s not a new rule , although people often think it is, he said what has changed is now there are step increases, so that the large users have to pay more.

"Our rate went up by 100 percent," Winchell said. "We were the only large user whose rate went up by 100 percent."

Increased use

Stevens was asked how come, in 2002, the village didn’t notice that the gallons the school was reporting was low. One would think that the total gallons recorded from 2001 would be much higher than the gallons recorded by the school in 2002 after reading only one meter.

Stevens responded, the school in 2002 started using a lot more water because of the building additions and watering of the new athletic fields, so there wasn’t a large drop in water use.

"When they first put in the fields, they were soaked; the contractor was over watering them," Stevens said.

Winchell said that she was going to be meeting with the village office to see what could be worked out since the $8-for-1,000-gallon rate was so expensive.

"I can’t not charge them," Stevens said. He said he was aware that the school wanted relief, but said it would be unfair to give a break to one user but not another.

The village would like to keep the school as a user, but if it wants to drill a well, Stevens thinks that’s a great idea, he said, but added that it costs a lot of money, too.

"They are gorgeous fields, but you’ll pay dearly for them," Stevens said. "Green fields are nice but you can’t have the whole place looking like Florida" without paying the price for it. He also said he wasn’t sure how often the pool has to be emptied and refilled but that’s a lot of gallons, too.

Board response

Board member John Cole told Winchell to remind the village of all the money the school district paid for infrastructure and helped out the village.

Board member Paige Macdonald asked if the elementary school, which is located within village limits, could pay the normal rather than double rate.

Stevens told The Enterprise that the elementary school has its own, single meter, and that is and has always been charged only the village rate.

School board President Robert Baron said that the district shouldn’t get excited yet and that he thinks the village is very reasonable and perhaps something could be worked out.


Winchell said that the school doesn’t actually owe $50,000, although that’s what the bill is for, because the back pay was calculated on the new rate which is only one year old.

Stevens agreed, saying that the computer just calculated the bill at the new rate. His recommendation to the village board is that for two years the bill be adjusted to reflect the old rate which, for outside of the village, would be $4 per 1,000 gallons rather than the $8 for this year.

This new total calculation, however, will not be as accurate had the meters just been read originally. Now, there is no way to tell on the meter how many gallons were used each of the three years, Stevens said.

He went on to say that the school could argue that, two years ago, it used most of the gallons and has greatly cut back since then, but there is no way to really tell. He will propose dividing the overall gallons by three years, charging two-thirds at the old rate and one-third at the new rate.

Stevens said that, with the village’s $126,000 loan for the new water tank and piping, the village is not making any profit off the selling of water to users outside of the village.

One day, he hopes to be able to provide more out-of-village homeowners with public water; currently the village has 200 outside users, he said.

Atlas Copco, within the village limits, is the largest water consumer by far, Stevens said. "Their water usage is astronomical. It make the school look like a drop in the bucket," he said.

The mayor also said that everyone across the village this year is seeing an increase in their bill because all homeowners received new meters last year. Voorheesville schools put in the new meters three years ago along with their capital improvements, but everyone else just got them last year. With new technology counting every drop, which the old meters did not, and because many of the old meters where old and not very accurate, on average, each homeowner was getting 25 percent of their water for free, Stevens said.

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