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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 5, 2009

Schreiber asks
Should village sell water to developers?

By Philippa Stasiuk

VOORHEESVILLE — As the village closes budget gaps by selling water to developers, at least one resident opposes the measure.

Steve Schreiber of Pleasant Street told the village board on Feb. 24 that he is concerned about the amount of potential development happening around the village, and the amount of village water that development would use.

Schreiber specified David Moreau’s property at the end of Locust Drive, which is in the planning stages for development. Moreau attended a Voorheesville workshop meeting on Jan. 27 and updated the board on his proposed plans for the property. He is considering two plans for the site — one with 19 lots and the other with 34. Both plans include an area of 1.3 acres, which would be dedicated to the village as part of a preliminary agreement for water.

Trustee John Stevens noted that, if the town of New Scotland approves the plan, there should be a time limit set for Moreau to access village water.

Schreiber asked the board members if they were intending to respond to all overtures for water and also how they knew that there was sufficient water to sell.

Mayor Robert Conway replied that the village is selling water “as a response to hits taken to the budget.” When asked what he meant, Conway said the village lost about $50,000 per year when Atlas Copco Comptec reduced its water consumption by 90 percent, or about 20 million gallons, after building recirculating cooling towers for the water.

Stevens added that the extra income the village would earn by selling water would also help to pay for the bonds that the village had taken out for infrastructure needs.

Schreiber then asked the board to estimate how much additional taxes would be needed to make up for the loss of Atlas Copco’s water revenues. Conway and the trustees agreed that it would mean each household would need to pay roughly an additional $40 per year, to which Schreiber replied, “To me that’s not a lot of  money. I suspect more people in town have the same concerns that I have.”

Conway replied, “I’ve had people approach me who feel like they’re being taxed to death. We try to weigh both sides. I would not be in favor of selling to large commercial development like what’s going down on 85.” Conway was referring to a proposal by Sphere Development to build a large retail mall at the intersection of routes 85 and 85A in New Scotland.

Smoke-free parks

The board also passed the first resolution of 2009 that the Jim Nichols Park and Hotaling Park, and all other village-owned and maintained parkland will be designated tobacco-free zones, effective April 1. Signs designating the parks as tobacco free will be provided free by the Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition and posted after the resolution becomes effective.

During the January board meeting, the village board heard a presentation from a representative of the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition who outlined two resolutions. The first concerned making Voorheesville’s parks tobacco free and the second would have encouraged convenience stores in the village to alter their cigarette advertising so that it is less visible to children.

Explaining why the second resolution was not voted upon, Conway said, “We didn’t really think it was an issue in Voorheesville. I looked at the three stores in question and I didn’t think the advertising was over the top.  I thought I’d deal with that by talking with the storeowners instead of passing a non-binding resolution. It’s always an option if something changes and the advertising increases.”

Other business

In other business, the board:

—Heard from Trustee Richard Berger that parking officer Frank Pierro has agreed to attend village court in order to represent the village in parking-related court cases. Berger said Judge Kenneth Connolly would notify Pierrot on which court sessions he must attend;

 —Heard from trustee William Hotaling that at the monthly zoning board meeting, the Cramers’ subdivision request at 10 North Main St. had been denied;

—Heard Conway that the board offers its condolences to the families of John Burke and Frank Jablonowski, “or Jabby, as he was better well-known,” said Mayor Conway. Jablonowski was the founder of the Maple Avenue Cultural Society or what Conway described as the “Maple Avenue Crazies”;

—Heard from Conway that the board had received the final draft of the sewer study and that it will be discussed in the March workshop; and

—Heard from Conway that he received a letter from Albany County announcing that $750,000 is available through the Albany County Workforce Housing Rehabilitation Program to assist low- to moderate-income homeowners pay for housing rehabilitation projects, including improvements to the health, safety, and energy efficiency of homes.

A maximum deferred payment loan of $25,000 per unit is available for qualified homeowners whose income is at or below 80 percent of the Albany County median income. Landlords whose income exceeds income eligibility limits with rental units occupied by tenants that are income eligible may apply for funds to pay for half of the cost of the work on those rental units only.

Conway said he has asked the building department and the trustees to forward any potential properties or names of owners that would benefit from the program. “We’ll also be reaching out to the churches and perhaps the food panty people to see if the have any leads,” said Conway. 

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