Broadalbin residents raise concerns over dept.
BROADALBIN – Town residents and members of the Town Board on Tuesday discussed the relationship between the board and town Highway Superintendent Lance Winney.
The discussion occurred after more complaints about practices at the Highway Department were voiced at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Town resident George Walters, a former town supervisor, asked the Town Board if they decided to not accept county funds, totalling more than $70,000, for plowing county roads during the winter.
Town Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo said the decision was made by the county after receiving a letter from Winney, claiming the town’s department might not be able to fulfill that contract.
The county pays municipalities to plow certain roads.
Winney said in October there was little snowfall the previous year, and he believed not plowing the county roads would save the town and county money.
The Fulton County Board of Supervisor’s Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee recommended rescinding the contract to have the town plow county roads in October.
“It wasn’t anyone’s decision here not to accept it,” DiGiacomo said.
“Well, that is a pretty big item, right there,” Walters said. “Can’t imagine we can just walk away from that.”
Walters also asked if DiGiacomo was aware of the town doing any paving in town, after reading the county was to pave several county routes.
“Not that I am aware of,” DiGiacomo said.
“Who the hell would be aware of it, Joe, if you aren’t?” Walters said, describing the situation as “running like a loose horse.”
“I don’t know how you guys can sit there and let this happen,” Walters said.
DiGiacomo said the town budgeted for paving, but the board is not going to force the department to spend money if there isn’t a plan to pave.
“I couldn’t sit there in that chair and let this happen,” Walters said, asking if Winney was running the show.
“I could absolutely take care of it, but I’ll be overstepping my boundaries and have everyone down [my] back,” DiGiacomo said. “I don’t have the authority to tell these guys what to do, or what to maintain or how to spend the money. It is New York state law.”
DiGiacomo said there have been other issues recently, as well. A culvert that collapsed on Union Mills Road needs to be replaced, he said. Without the culvert, he said, water could cause damage to the road.
DiGiacomo said the culvert collapsed because it was never cleaned.
DiGiacomo said before Winney went on vacation, he allegedly placed road closed signs on Union Mills Road and never notified anyone about the closure.
Winney could not be reached for comment.
The Town Board passed a resolution allowing the Highway Department to rent an excavator at $400 a day to replace the culvert. There is a $2,500 limit on the project.
Tom Christopher, a resident of the town, said DiGiacomo was sidestepping the will of the voters by not working with Winney, an elected representative.
“This issue would not have dragged on for two years if you had stepped up to the plate. You could have made suggestions. There are a hundred things you could have done,” Christopher said.
DiGiacomo said he has tried to work with Winney.
“We tried to sit down and talk, we tried remediation, we tried professionals, we tried all kinds of things,” DiGiacomo said.