City of Guilderland hopes to filter wells

GUILDERLAND – The city is seeking a state grant to install a green sand filtration system in its drinking water wells.

The grant is awarded through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act; $ 400 million will be allocated in 2021-2022. The deadline for submitting applications is November 22 at 5 p.m.

Therefore, city council has scheduled a public hearing Thursday for Friday, November 19 at noon, to pass a decision of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. This allows the required 30 days for comments between the adoption of the resolution by council on October 19 and the public hearing.

Mary Beth Bianconi of Delaware Engineering, which manages the demand, explained that the city has three wells. One is used in summer when water consumption is maximum in town; the other two wells are unused because they contain high levels of iron and manganese.

Sometimes in the summer, during peaks in consumption, she said, the city uses more water from this single well than the half-million-gallon cap set by the Department of Conservation of the state environment.

The grant, she said, would build a filtration system to give the city another source of water besides the Watervliet reservoir, adding to its resilience.

“It’s a packed bed filter,” Bianconi said, explaining that the unit’s green sand binds to iron and manganese to remove it from the water. The sand should be replaced once it can no longer be absorbed.

“It’s a cost, but the advantage is that the wells become useful and the quality [of water] is better, ”she said, explaining that groundwater sources are generally cheaper than surface water sources like the reservoir and are also more stable.

Bianconi said the grant, if given to Guilderland, would cover up to 60% of the costs or up to $ 3 million, whichever is greater.

“I always thought our fees were low… compared to other cities,” said supervisor Peter Barber.

The tariffs are based on the number of users who can bear the costs of a water system, explained Bianconi. Guilderland, she said, has many users – over 27,000 people in 10,000 cost-sharing households. His company works with other communities that only have 200 users on a system, so their individual rates are much higher.

This grant program is “very popular,” Bianconi said, so the state will have many applications to check. She expected Guilderland to know if he got the grant “at the start of the new year.”

Rescue plan expenses

The board authorized the spending of US bailout funds from the federal government to:

– Three radio consoles for dispatch at a cost of $ 450,000. The current consoles, Barber said, are “out of steam” and the police chief and fire department have been looking to replace them for some time;

– Security cameras and door access systems for $ 92,124.51. These will be placed in “various places,” Barber said;

– A mobile presentation station for $ 5,776.93. This too has been requested for some time, said Barber, noting that the station would be moved from department to department as needed. Councilor Laurel Bohl asked if this would help with the virtual meetings; Barber responded that another item, to be announced at a later meeting, would help with that;

– Communication systems for the city’s parks department for $ 12,000. Barber said this would be useful for summer programs; and

– An integrated fuel system for the city’s emergency medical services at a cost of $ 16,592.

Barber said the city is closely monitoring federal funds, allocated to deal with the pandemic, and the items listed are all legal uses.

Two new officers

The city council filled two vacancies in the police department – one officer retired and another took a job with the state police – appointing Kristopher Scarano and Olivia Dibella.

Dibella and Scarano had both worked for the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, which MPs often leave for higher-paying jobs in suburban departments.

Bohl asked if any minority candidates applied, to which Barber replied that Police Chief Daniel McNally is still trying to find people of color and women. “He’s trying to diversify the force as much as possible,” Barber said, adding that it wasn’t easy to do.

A police reform plan adopted by Guilderland earlier this year says that in order to promote racial justice and fairness, a diverse workforce reflective of the community should be recruited.

Guilderland, a suburban town of about 35,000 residents, is 87.76% white and 3.46% black, according to the reform plan. According to the federal census, this is also about 7 percent of Asians.

The Guilderland Police Department employs 39 officers; none of them are colored, says the plan. The department also includes three administrative office workers, 10 telecommunicators and two animal control officers.

“Based solely on the city’s demographic of 3.5% black, the police department would respect racial measures by having a black police officer,” the plan says. “But the City’s goal is more than satisfying a statistic and making the police force more diverse in line with the growing diversity of the community.”

City Councilor Paul Pastore, a liaison with the police department, said in Thursday’s meeting that the lack of minority officers in Guilderland’s force is not due to lack of effort; an officer of color chose not to accept the offer, he said.

He also said of Dibella and Scarano: “I was very impressed with both.”

City Councilor Patricia Slavick, also a liaison with the department, noted that with Dibella’s appointment there are now four women in Guilderland’s force.

Other business

In other matters, counsel:

– I learned from John Haluska that the state environmental conservation department has removed the remaining toxic material from the old Rustic Barn site at 4852 Western Turnpike. He asked if the city would work with the county land bank “to get a rustic barn resolution.”

Barber replied that the director of the land bank, Adam Zaranko, was looking for a closing letter. He suggested that the owner of the adjacent property might want to contact the county for a direct purchase.

Two years ago, the owner of the adjacent property, Ryan Caruso, told The Enterprise that he and his wife were hoping to salvage the historic Dutch barn on the property and use it as a farm stand. Chemicals found on the property included petroleum and pesticides. The late Herbert Young had been selling wood stoves, antiques and lawn care supplies to the rustic barn for years;

– Approved tax certiorari procedure regulations for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 tax years for Hawthorne Gardens, at 1980-2008 Western Ave., and an apartment building located at 3577-3581 Carman Road, with refunds from possible tax of $ 10,515.65 and $ 1,324.55, as recommended by the appraiser and retained lawyer.

The city’s valuation for Hawthorne had been $ 11.3 million while Hawthorne’s valuation was $ 8.3 million, city attorney James Melita said; the parties settled $ 9.7 million, which he called a “good settlement”. He called the value set in the city-wide reassessment process “guesswork.”

Barber said there was no way to force apartment complex owners to share their expenses, so then appraiser Karen VanWagenen would consult the rental guide for pricing. and would multiply by the number of units. “She would be wrong in ensuring that taxpayers are protected,” said Barber;

– Approval of a rental contract with the DISH network for the installation of an antenna on the Fort Hunter water reservoir; this is the fourth antenna on the tank. The company offered $ 1,000, Melita said. “We were able to negotiate,” he said, at $ 1,500. The contract is renewable every five years;

– Authorized the clerk and supervisor to sign a collector’s mandate for the water district in the amount of $ 647,573.35; and

– Adopted a resolution to recognize November 27 as Small Business Saturday.

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