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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 14, 2010

Westerlo board votes for annual outside audit, sets new water rates

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — In its first meeting of the New Year, the town board sought to quench the needs of the water district, setting the fee schedule for district residents, and floating ideas on related issues.

But first, councilmen R. Gregory Zeh and Edward Rash were sworn in at the town’s brief re-organizational meeting, as Zeh and Rash were each re-elected for another four-year term in November. Judge Kenneth Mackey had been sworn in on New Year’s Eve; Judge Andrew Brick was sworn in last Thursday.

Taking a grim look forward to the coming months, Supervisor Richard Rapp said this week that what the town needs right now is more money.

“The more sales-tax revenue, the better,” Rapp said this week. “Let’s face it — every town’s facing the same thing. It’s not a pretty picture, I’ll tell you that.” Rapp hopes the town will not have to spend too much on salt and sand, he said, “depending on the kind of winter we have.”

In the remainder of the town’s short re-organizational meeting, which was followed immediately by the regular monthly meeting, Councilman Zeh made a motion to adopt a policy that will require an annual, independent audit of the town’s government by an outside certified public accountant firm — “An independent set of eyes looking at the books and records,” as Zeh called it. The motion passed unanimously, though which firm will be used and how much the town will spend has not yet been discussed.

Zeh told The Enterprise this week that the need for such an audit came partly out of residents’ questioning some of the work performed by Robert Fisher, the town’s consultant.

“There’ve been no real issues,” Zeh said this week of Fisher’s work. “But he does a monthly close process for the town. And, at the end of the year, he reviews the books and records, and presents a statement. My concern is, I don’t think we can consider that to be a financial review when he’s involved in the close process for each month. It’s definitely not independent.”

Staying afloat

At its regular meeting, the town board voted to accept the water-district fee schedule, as presented by Zeh at the December meeting.

“The rate per thousand went up dramatically,” said Zeh of the water usage cost per thousand gallons, which jumped from $4.60 to $16.10. “But, we eliminated the semi-annual, flat payment of $375. So, what ends up happening is, for people that use very little water, the rate goes down, but for those that use a lot of water, what they pay goes up.”

He went on, “Another thing is, a lot of the people had said it was difficult to make those payments, so we’re going from semi-annual payments, to quarterly payments, so it’s easier now that we’ve broken that up,” he said.

The fee schedule is as follows:

— For the annual bond repayment, residents will pay $275.86;

— For water usage, $16.10 per 1,000 gallons, with a minimum quarterly billing of 2,500 gallons;

— For an application fee for service connections, including water meter assembly, initial inspection, and turn-on fee, $385;

— For an application fee for water system extension, $500;

— For turn-on water service to a residence, $50;

— For shut-off water service to a residence, $50;

— For inspection of water service, $50;

— For water meter testing by the water system operator, $50;

— For a special reading of a water meter, $50;

— For replacement of a meter, due to resident negligence, $250;

— For a minimum semi-annual water bill where a water meter is unreadable, $275; and

— For annual maintenance on district parcels with no connection, $50.

Other business

In other business at its Jan. 5 meeting, the town board:

— Heard from administrative aide Kim Slingerland that, as a result of the special Dec. 18 meeting, the town has a new insurance broker: Candy Marrero, owner of Worksite Benefits Inc. The town will continue to use Capital District Physicians Health Plan as its insurance provider, Slingerland said;

— Voted unanimously in favor of renewing its contract with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society for handling stray dogs; and

— Heard a reminder from Robert Duchow, the town’s historian, that Westerlo will be 200 years old in 2015, and that a celebration should be planned.


The town’s elected and appointed officials and boards are as follows, with terms to expire on Dec. 31, 2010, unless otherwise noted:

Town Board: Richard Rapp (supervisor, term expires Dec. 31, 2011), and councilmen Edward Rash (Dec. 31, 2013), R. Gregory Zeh (Dec. 31, 2013), Robert Snyder (Dec. 31, 2011), and Clinton J. Milner (Dec. 31, 2012);

Consultant: Robert E. Fisher;

Town Clerk: Gertrude Smith (term expires Dec. 31, 2011);

Registrar of Vital Statistics: Gertrude Smith;

Deputy Registrar and Deputy Town Clerk: Kathleen Spinnato;

Zoning Administrator: Ed Lawson;

Superintendent of Highways: John Nevins;

Deputy Code Enforcement Officer: Bruce F. Bunzey;

Court Clerk: Florence Derry;

Deputy Supervisors: Edward A. Rash and R. Gregory Zeh;

Town Attorney: Aline D. Galgay;

Town Judges: Andrew Brick and Kenneth Mackey (terms expire Dec. 31, 2013);

Town Historian: Robert M. Duchow;

Dog-Control Officer: Jody Ostrander;

Assistant Dog Control Officer: William Scott III;

Zoning Board Clerk and Planning Board Clerk: Rita Perciballi;

Assessor’s Clerk: Claire Marshall;

Planning Board: Anthony Sherman (chairman, term expires Dec. 31, 2013), Gerald Boone (Dec. 31, 2016), Kristen Slaver (Dec. 31, 2010), and Richard Kurylo (Dec. 31, 2011);

Board of Assessment Review: Dawn Belarge (term expires Sept. 30, 2012), Eugene Coogan (Sept. 30, 2011), and Suzanne Rash (Sept. 30, 2013);

Zoning Board of Appeals: Gail Snyder (chairwoman, term expires Dec. 31, 2012), Virginia Mangold (Dec. 31, 2012), Gerald Woodruff (Dec. 31, 2010), and Wilfred VanIderstine (Dec. 31, 2012). There is one vacant seat; and

Official Newspaper: The Altamont Enterprise.

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