Walden is ramping up its efforts to conduct fire safety inspections of apartment buildings in the village, and the municipality set a $65 per unit fee during its Village Board meeting on Nov. 14 to cover the costs of the safety examinations. The board previously passed a local law in March amending the village code to stipulate that all multiple dwellings and nonresidential buildings in Walden will be inspected at least once every 24 months.
The $65 fee will compensate for the cost of hiring a part-time worker to help the building department carry out the inspections. “I think that protecting the residents in the Village of Walden is paramount,” Walden Village Manager John Revella said. “It is going to cost us because we do have to get more personnel to cover those inspections. It’s going to take time and effort to get through more than 900 units in the village. We tried to make sure that the fee is commensurate with what has to be done. I don’t want to charge too much, but I don’t want to charge too little whereas the taxes are supplementing it.”
When the board passed Local Law No. 5 of 2017 this spring, the legislation stated that the law was intended to “reduce to the maximum extent possible the adverse consequences of fire loss to the residents of said structures as well as to the citizens and taxpayers of the Village of Walden.” The $65 fee, which was approved unanimously by the council, will now provide the village with the means to carry out the increased load of inspections. “We didn’t have one before and it was difficult for us to keep up because of the amount of work,” Revella said of the fee. “So they were getting done less frequently, and most of the inspections that were getting done were for the major structures and not the minors. With all of the fires in recent years and carbon monoxide issues that are coming up, we want to be ahead of it instead of having to worry about chasing our tails.”
At the council’s previous meeting on Oct. 17, the board made a preliminary decision to discontinue the practice of adding fluoride to its water system, and on Tuesday the board set a tentative date of March 1 for a potential end to the fluoridation program. The board is following the state process for ending water fluoridation, and will ultimately have to pass a local law to terminate the program.
The village will be putting a notification in the press about the possible discontinuation, and Walden is required provide the state and county departments of health with 90 days notice about its decision to stop the program. The village will also have to submit a health plan that lays out alternative methods for residents to acquire fluoride if the village stops adding it to the public water supply.
By Ted Remsnyder