Clarkstown Town Board Member Frank Borelli asked for more specifics about the highway department’s requests for more funding. The proposal put forward last week by Superintendent Wayne Ballard sought $1.6 million in bonding for additional projects and equipment purchases.
At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Borelli noted the town currently has $95 million worth of debt.
“We have to be very careful where were going with our debt,” he said. “We’ve got to watch everything.”
Borelli said it is important for the residents to know where the money is being spent. The issue came up because the board was voting on authorizing resolutions for the town’s purchasing agent to advertise for bids for the 2012 road resurfacing and concrete curb and sidewalk replacement programs and purchase of three snow and leaf collecting trucks.
Borelli said the board approved a budget last year and he was hesitant about the request for more money.
“I’m just curious why we are increasing those numbers,” he said.
Borelli also asked about the handling of the reimbursement from FEMA for storm cleanup from Hurricane Irene. He wanted to know if it was counted twice in the department’s proposal. Borelli said it appeared to be used for overtime costs associated with the cleanup and then for road repairs. Ballard said the $632,000 was not used twice in the budget.
“The FEMA money was not realized as a revenue in 2011 and therefore could not be counted in 2011,” explained Ballard. “But it could be counted in 2012.”
Borelli acknowledged the roads were not maintained properly in the past and said $500,000 was budgeted for paving this year but the new request sought a total of $1 million. When he asked how the department rates the roads in the town and determines which ones need work, Ballard offered to provide a five-year plan listing road projects.
Ballard requested $1,039,000 in bonding for resurfacing and drainage projects. He also asked for $561,000 in bonding for three new multi-purpose plow trucks and equipment required by OSHA (the federal Occupational Health & Safety Administration). The trucks would cost $540,000 and $21,000 would be used for the OSHA purchase.
The board approved advertising for the bids, which Town Supervisor Alex Gromack pointed out, was not a commitment to do any work but would provide the town with actual costs for the projects.