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2015-03-03 / News

Walton Board Approves Bonds for Biogas Project

Robert A. Cairns
Editor-in-Chief

WALTON — The village of Walton’s plan to build a “bio digester” that will turn dairy waste into methane gas was advanced on Monday, when the village board of trustees authorized the issuance of up to $8.5 million in bonds to pay for it.

Bill Brown of Delaware Engineering, the village’s contract engineering firm, said that design work and funding applications for the project, to be built adjacent to the sewer plant, are in progress. He said the resolution to issue bonds was the next step, though he insisted that revenues from the new facility will cover the cost. “An important part of this is that we don’t expect to incur any rate increases for the residents of the village,” he said.

Bond Anticipation Notes (BAN) will be used to fund planning and construction costs until the bonds are issued. The $8.5 million project cost includes the digester, buildings and pipelines to carry gas to Walton Central School and the Kraft Foods plant, though Mayor Ed Snow said he expects to receive grants of up to $2 million to pay for the pipelines.

Brown said it is expected that more than half of the waste treated at the new plant will come from the local Kraft plant, with the rest coming from nearby processors who currently ship waste to plants farther away.

Also at the meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Stephen Dutcher reported that weather issues have kept him busy. “Snow has been the topic of the month for me,” he said. He also said he has handled complaints about weather-related problems at rental housing units.

In a code-related matter, Townsend Street resident Sam Swart complained that the ordinance requiring snow removal from sidewalks lacks a promised provision that creates a process for residents to plead not guilty when charged with violating the law. Village officials acknowledged that the provision does not appear in the village code book, and agreed to determine if it was contained in the original statute that was filed with the New York State Department of State.

Representatives of Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS), Music on the Delaware and the Delaware River Stage Company were at the meeting to talk about their partnership in the use of the Walton Theatre, which is located in the village hall building and leased to RSS.

Trustee Charles Gregory reported that the RSS lease does not include the “museum room,” which is controlled by the village, though RSS is interested in amending its lease to include the room, at an additional cost of $25 per month. RSS representative Jayne Francisco said the agency is interested in using the room to present gallery-style art shows.

Mayor Ed Snow proposed waiting a month to amend the lease, and to use the intervening time to review and update the entire agreement, which was adopted in 1996 and has provisions which no longer apply.

Gregory disagreed. “The village has the opportunity to make money right now,” he said. He moved to amend the lease immediately, but his motion died when it failed to gain a second from another board member.

Gregory had better luck when he moved to advance $1,500 for a contractor to purchase materials for a previously-approved project to repair doors on the theater building. That motion was approved, with the provision that a committee of the board be satisfied with the contractor’s repair plan.

Also at the meeting:

• The board approved the purchase of a one-ton truck and plow for the public works department, at a cost of $45,800.

• Public Works Superintendent Roger Hoyt reported that “approximately 20” water service lines to homes in the village have frozen up during this season’s frigid weather, compared to two last year.

• Trustee Theresa O’Leary reported that Police Chief Brian diLorenzo will place an order for a new police car this week. She said the car will be delivered in late May or early June.

• John Moffett of Delaware Operations, operators of the village sewer plant, reported that the annual budget for the sewer plant has been completed and is ready for review by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which is expected to provide $1,051,530.51 for operation of the plant.

• Snow asked village residents to keep a faucet dripping in their homes to prevent more frozen water lines.

• The board gave approval for Clerk Jody Brown to advertise the village elections, which will take place on Wednesday, March 18 from noon to 9 p.m. The offices of mayor and two trustees will be up for election, as will a two-year town justice term.

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