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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 18, 2009


Westerlo and Rensselaerville to share bus service

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — With help from the neighboring town of Rensselaerville, Westerlo will soon have a transportation system in place for its elderly and disabled residents.

In recent months, Bob Bolte, a Rensselaerville resident who plans on running for town board this fall, has been attending meetings in Westerlo, and pushing for a shared-services agreement between the two towns.

“We had been looking to get our own bus,” Westerlo’s attorney, Aline Galgay, said this week. “By the time Rensselaerville found out, we had gone to the Assembly and Senate to secure funding. In the meantime, Rensselaerville said, ‘Why not enter into a shared-services agreement?’”

This agreement would lead primarily to Rensselaerville’s town-owned bus picking up seniors and people with disabilities in Westerlo on its way to Greenville for shopping trips; the two towns would split the cost of gas. Westerlo currently has no method for transporting the elderly and disabled for such trips.

“The whole idea is to cut down on government waste,” said Bolte, who often drives the bus. “If we’re driving a bus from Rensselaerville to Greenville, why not pick up people in Westerlo? I had picked up a guy in a wheelchair from Westerlo who needed transportation, and I’d also taken him to doctor appointments, and it was understood with our town board that it was all right, and I wanted to expand that to other people out in Westerlo who don’t have transportation.”

Bolte was one of the citizens who led the drive to purchase the Rensselaerville bus.

At its meeting last week, the Rensselaerville Town Board accepted a set of terms that had been circulated among board members by Town Attorney Joseph Catalano, and authorized Supervisor Jost Nickelsberg to sign a shared-services agreement with Westerlo.

The Westerlo Town Board voted unanimously at its June 2 meeting to have Galgay draw up an official agreement by the regular July town board meeting, which, she said this week, she has already started doing.

While Westerlo’s council has not voted on the final terms, the conditions of the agreement, at present, are as follows:

— Bus services for Westerlo are limited to seniors and disabled persons, as they are defined in the Social Services Law, and their aides. Title 6 and Title 7 of the Social Services Law both make reference to elderly as being 65 or older;

— Westerlo will reimburse Rensselaerville for 53 cents per mile for Rensselaerville’s regularly scheduled shopping trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for any other joint uses. For trips involving only Westerlo residents, Westerlo will reimburse Rensselaerville $1.06 per mile. These figures are subject to change in January of 2010; and

— The town of Westerlo will limit bus use to $5,000 in reimbursements — about 4717 miles — for the fiscal year, and will be billed on a monthly basis.

Other business

In other business at its June 2 meeting, the Westerlo Town Board:

— Voted unanimously to authorize Supervisor Richard Rapp to register the water district with the Underground Facilities Protection Organization;

— Scheduled a public hearing for June 18, at 7:30 p.m., to discuss the sewer district, where water rates have been a contentious matter as of late;

— After complaints from water-district residents that water-service operation by LVDV has been too costly, voted to put out a request for proposal (RFP) for a water-service operator;

— Agreed to hold interviews on June 30 for the vacant position on the planning board; applications are due on June 26; and

— Heard from Attorney Galgay that town consultant Robert Fisher finally produced his worksheet, on which he made his calculations before adjusting the water rate for the sewer district. Members of both town government and the sewer district had made efforts in the past to get a hold of Fisher’s worksheet, but to no avail.


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