Andes officials at odds over highway budget

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By Pauline Liu
Andes Town Supervisor Marty Donnelly and Highway Superintendent Mike McAdams found themselves at odds over the town’s new leaner and meaner highway budget. Both men made their cases at the final regularly scheduled town board meeting of the year, which was held at town hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Last month, town officials approved deep cuts to the 2012 budget, which were made almost across the board. However, McAdams took exception to his limited snow removal budget for both the remainder of this year as well as next year. He wrote about it in his monthly highway report, which was read aloud by Deputy Supervisor Martin Liddle. McAdams himself did not attend the meeting.

In his report, McAdams complained that there is only $35,000 left in the budget for snow removal this year and $60,000 for next year. “For 110 miles of road, I only have $60,000 and Bovina has 54 miles of road, and their snow removal budget is $83,000,” he wrote. “Let’s all hope that we have a mild winter this year and next.”

Donnelly prepared an angry handwritten response, which he read aloud at the meeting. “For the snow removal, I said if he came to the meetings, perhaps we’d be able to make a good workable budget,” explained Donnelly.

Truck conflict
However, the supervisor also used the opportunity to admonish McAdams about proper budgeting, beginning with an $85,000 new dump truck, which he asked the town to purchase.

“When you ask nine to 10 months ahead and the board agrees, then these funds should be committed and not be spent anywhere else,” he said.

Donnelly said he doesn’t know exactly how the money was spent, but the board voted to take the funds for the new truck from the Dunraven bridge account. Donnelly would not comment on how much money will remain for the actual bridge project, once the truck is paid for.

Donnelly continued on and chided McAdams for what he described as “lack of planning.” He explained that two years ago, the town board faced a similar predicament, when McAdams presented the board with more than $400,000 worth of flood related road repairs.

“While the board paid for this out of funds that I had saved to offset the new highway garage tax increase, New York State Highway Law states, when items exceed the budget that’s been set and this practice continues, the highway superintendent can be personally liable for the obligation he has thus incurred,” said Donnelly. At press time, McAdams could not be reached for a response.

Clerk training issues
In other news, the board voted that the newly elected town clerk, Kimberly Tosi, should attend training sessions, which will be held in Albany next month. Tosi is McAdams’ daughter. While there is no money budgeted to send the new clerk to school, Tosi has agreed to pay for the training herself with the agreement that the town will reimburse her later. Donnelly explained that Assessor Tina Moshier is deputy town clerk for a month . There will be no deputy for Tosi, when she takes office, but she is budgeted $500, in the event that she requires some help.

The board accepted the resignations of Michelle Lechanteur as court clerk and Ed Weber as the dog control officer. Donnelly explained that Weber who lives in Bovina will become the new highway superintendent there. Jason Mondore was appointed the new dog control officer. The board also voted to continue to pay $200 per month to Romo Machine for office space for Tax Collector Margaret Moshier. The business is owned by her son, Shayne, the outgoing councilman and her daughter-in-law, Tina, the assessor.

As the meeting drew to a close, Donnelly thanked Town Clerk Janis Jacques, and outgoing Councilmen Ritchie Gabriel and Shayne Moshier for their many years of service and he said he would miss them all.

The next town board meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 12:30 p.m.