Boat Club Discussions Continue

March workshop will address several issues

By Michael Turton

A recent meeting between members of the Cold Spring Boat Club and two members of the Cold Spring Village Board caused a brief but edgy exchange at the board’s meeting on Feb. 2. After indicating she only learned of the meeting attended by Mayor Dave Merandy and Trustee Fran Murphy after the fact, a displeased Trustee Cathryn Fadde asked the two, “Do you care to share the details?”

Murphy said the boat club requested the meeting and that only two board members attended in order to meet the requirements of New York State’s Open Meetings Law. Advance public notice is required for meetings involving a quorum of the five-member board. A number of meetings involving two village board members and boat club leadership have been held in recent years as part of the ongoing discussion of the club’s use of the riverfront property.

The club’s building was razed last fall as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s remediation of subsurface deposits of toxic coal on the property. Removal of the coal tar is ongoing. As part of that project, a large tent was recently erected onsite to contain potential airborne toxins emitted during excavation.

The portion of the Cold Spring Boat Club site from which toxic coal tar will be removed now lies beneath a huge tent.  (Photo by M. Turton)

The portion of the Cold Spring Boat Club site from which toxic coal tar will be removed now lies beneath a huge tent.  (Photo by M. Turton)

The property is owned by the village and leased to the boat club, with the current agreement set to expire in 2024. Established in 1955, the club pays neither rent nor taxes to the village. In contrast, the Hudson House has paid the village approximately $8,000 a year for use of a parking lot on the property. The 2012 Comprehensive Plan calls for finding ways for the site to generate more revenue for the village.

At the recent meeting involving Merandy and Murphy, the possibility of the boat club paying $20,000 in annual rent was mentioned, although Merandy downplayed the exact amount, describing it as “a number that was thrown out there.” The figure, he said, was based on the club indicating that as many as 1,000 boats dock there each year. Merandy also said that he told the boat club representatives that the village is looking to increase its revenue sources.

The club has said in the past that it wants to extended the term of the lease to aid possible long-term financing of a new building. Merandy said that the boat club is a 501-C-7 non-profit, a category that does not permit it to collect funds from non-members, a factor that could affect its ability to fundraise. Summing up the meeting, Merandy said, “We ended up right where we started last year,” adding, “We’ll have to have an open meeting with them.”

The boat club will be invited to attend a village board workshop on March 1 to discuss a number of issues related to the club’s future.

In other business on Feb. 2 …

  • Trustees approved the wording for the March 15 referendum that will ask voters, “Beginning in 2018, should the village change the days of its election from the third Tuesday in March to coincide with the regular general elections held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November?”
  • Approval was given for the purchase of cellular water meters at a cost of $180,000. Installation will cost an estimated $160,000 and will be put out to bid.
  • The board accepted an arrangement with a resident who will pay $4,000 immediately then make monthly payments of $300 to pay off a water bill that is more than $7,000 in arrears.

In other business on Feb. 9 …

  • A public hearing on the installation of a pay station at the municipal parking lot on Fair St. will be held as part of the Feb. 23 meeting of the village board.
  • Trustees approved adding $345,000 to the village Bond Anticipation Note to cover the cost of purchasing and installing cellular water meters throughout the water system serving Cold Spring and Nelsonville.
  • Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Greg Phillips reported that as a result of recent upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant, the electrical bill for January dropped from $6,000 to $2,000, and that such savings will continue due to the improved electrical service at the plant. He also said that village reservoirs are back to 100 percent capacity. The increase in water levels is due in large part to minimal snowfall to date, with most precipitation coming in the form of rain.

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