[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]

Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 16, 2010

New truck and new lights for Rensselaerville

By Zach Simeone

RENSSELAERVILLE — ’Tis the season for a new truck and better lighting at Town Hall.

After months of discussion, the town board agreed at last week’s meeting to purchase a heavy-duty plow truck for the highway department, though it may require the shifting of funds in next year’s budget. The board also decided to pursue an opportunity for lighting upgrades, which will be paid for by Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation and federal incentives.

The five-feet-in-five-days snowstorm that covered the Hilltowns last winter has led Highway Superintendent Gary Zeh to push for better equipment in recent months. Zeh had assembled a chart earlier this year, which showed that 14 of the town’s 23 vehicles are more than 10 years old, and the oldest is from 1975.

The chart was part of a 15-year plan to sell and replace all of these vehicles between now and 2025, mapping out when these proposed transactions would take place, and how much he would be spending. Zeh was asked to revise the plan in a way that would exclude the borrowing of money.

In September, Zeh convinced the town board to spend $44,678 on a used, medium-duty, 2008 Ford F550 with a plow and sander. It has a 6.4-liter diesel engine with a three-year warranty, and has about 47,000 miles on it.

Soon, a newer piece of equipment will hit town roads.

A new set of wheels

At last week’s meeting, the town board voted to arm its highway department with a new 2011 International 7500, a diesel-fueled machine with 350 horsepower and 22.5-inch wheels. Its maximum allowable weight when loaded is 60,000 pounds. The new truck will cost the town $151,608.

While most of the cost will be covered by some of this year’s highway budget, the exact method of funding the purchase has yet to be decided upon, though there was some discussion at last week’s meeting.

“For the remainder,” Zeh told the board, “out of my 2011 budget, I’d be willing to forego 30 thousand from…the [machinery] capital improvement line, and another 21 or 22 thousand out of the general repairs to fund the rest of that truck.”

“Well,” replied Supervisor Marie Dermody, “we’re almost on the same page, which is scary,” she joked; Zeh and the board have argued over how immediate the need for a new truck was, and how much deal hunting the town should do before settling on a purchase.

“I was just going to recommend that 75 [thousand] come out now,” Dermody said. “That’s going to leave you real low…see if we can’t figure out where in the 2011 budget we can modify the lines to accommodate that.”

Zeh said Tuesday that he met with Dermody after last week’s meeting to discuss the issue further, but a final decision was not made.

“We’re pretty much going to take what’s left over from this year and roll it into the truck purchase,” Zeh said Tuesday. “I think they’re going to just pay half the truck now from the current unexpended balances in the bank, and the rest we’re going to decide after the first of the year.”

Lighten up

Dermody told the crowd that Alliance Energy Solutions recently performed a lighting audit for Town Hall, which revealed that the only lights in Rensselaerville’s town buildings that are “efficiency-compliant” are the ones that Highway Superintendent Gary Zeh had installed in the mechanics’ bay.

At 40 hours of use a week, and paying 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, upgrading these 67 light fixtures would mean an annual savings of $1,569, said Dermody. This upgrade, she said, would have cost the town $4,484, according to an estimate by Mike Allen at Alliance.

After the audit, Dermody found out that the town could upgrade its lighting for free. Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation is offering to cover 70 percent of the cost of lighting upgrades to all government owned buildings, according to the company’s website, and the remaining 30 percent will be paid for as well if the town assigns its Energy Policy Act (EPACT) deductions to Alliance Energy Solutions, Central Hudson’s lighting partner, the company that had performed the lighting audit for the town.

Dermody told the crowd last week, “We can have all the light fixtures in this building…all the offices, the highway garage, the break room, Gary’s office, and that little hallway, and the recycling building, all upgraded to energy efficient lighting.” The only lights that would not be replaced, she said, are the ones in the bathrooms.

The four town board members present voted in favor of going forward with the upgrade; Councilman John Kudlack was absent from the meeting.

“They would replace the bulbs and the ballasts,” Dermody said at the meeting. She read from a letter from Alliance, “The new equipment will increase the color rendering index of your current lighting system, and this will make colors more vivid and true.”

Other business

In other business at its Dec. 9 meeting, the town board:

— Denied payment of a voucher relating to general engineering work on the Myosotis Lake Dam. Supervisor Dermody said she would look into the scope of the work done before the board agreed to pay the voucher;

— Received a letter from Barbara Heath, who wrote in support of Jon Whitbeck, the town’s recycling coordinator, getting a raise next year. Dermody told the crowd that Heath was writing on behalf of herself and three other people.

The only Town Hall employee to get a raise in the 2011 budget was Kathleen Hallenbeck, the longtime town clerk, whose pay will increase from $31,340 this year, to $32,280 next year.

Dermody had also said during the recent budget meetings that Whitbeck should get a raise in the 2011 budget because he has taken on more responsibilities and, since he now makes a salary, gets about $5,000 less a year;

— Received a letter from Deb Monteith, president of the Rensselaerville Volunteer Ambulance, explaining next year’s $30,000 decrease in the portion the town pays for the squad’s budget, from $41,000 to $10,000.

“During the course of each year, we have collected revenue from insurance agencies to offset operating costs,” Monteith wrote. “In the past few years, the ambulance company has worked hard to return these funds to the taxpayers in town, after covering our costs. Each January, we have presented a check to the town, in varying amounts, in the vicinity of $25,000 to $35,000…In better serving our community, we will request only $10,000 this year and not return monies at the end of the year, in a hope that taxes will be reduced within the budget”;

— Heard from Georgette Koenig of Pond Hill Road, who thanked the highway department for its work on her driveway, which had long been in disrepair, but went on to say that recent weather had caused the driveway to revert back to a state of disrepair. The damage to her driveway, of which she provided photographs, causes her and her husband’s cars to bottom out several times when they leave the driveway;

— Heard that, on Nov. 27, the town collected 30 gallons of waste oil. Since the town normally collects waste oil on the last Saturday of the month, and the last Saturday this month is Christmas, Dermody said she would attempt to arrange for the collection of waste oil on Dec. 18 instead;

— Scheduled its final meeting of 2010 for Thursday, Dec. 30, at 5 p.m.; and

— Scheduled its 2011 re-organizational meeting for Sunday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m.

[Return to Home Page]