In a last-minute proposal at the Wednesday, May 6, Glenville Town Board Meeting, Highway Department officials presented the town with a request for two new trucks at a cost of $425,000. It’s a dollar amount that Highway Superintendent Rick LeClair said will not significantly affect taxes and is a small price to pay for the cleanup his department provides during emergencies, such as the ice storm that hit the region last winter.
The compliments that we received were unbelievable from the cleanup our guys did during that storm, said LeClair.
LeClair said the truck proposal was made at the last minute because the department was just recently able to get all the numbers together.
LeClair said that his department was able to receive funds from FEMA that will cover much of the purchase price. He said the FEMA money was allotted for outsourcing storm cleanup, something his department decided to do on its own.
He also said the only possible tax increase would be less than half a percent.
`By having our guys do all the work, we gained revenue. These large trucks allow us to plow, pick up leaves and keep our roads safe for Glenville residents,` said LeClair.
LeClair said that the two new trucks would allow them to replace two vehicles that date back to 1986.
`I would like to see board members driving around in 22-year-old trucks. We are just trying to make something good come out of the budget that can be a benefit to the entire town,` said LeClair.
Town Councilman Chris Koetzle said he was uneasy with the last-minute request and asked that it be put on hold until the board could look at the details more carefully.
`Before we consider spending that kind of money, we need a priority assessment of needs from the highway superintendent. We need a full accounting of how much the storm debris pickup cost us, which we don’t have yet. We need a better understanding of what we can spend this money on and what we can’t, in accordance with FEMA guidelines. We need to really understand what’s wrong with the trucks we currently have, and if they could be fixed or not,` said Koetzle.
Koetzle said in response to this type of last-minute resolution he is proposing a measure that would forbid the board from voting on any resolution that has a fiscal impact to the budget without it first being submitted for a work session. After that, the proposal would have to be voted on at a regularly scheduled meeting.
`I would allow the board to consider the spending bill without it being put through the proper aging process if the board voted 5-to-0 that it was an emergency expense. We need to be better fiscal stewards,` said Koetzle.
LeClair said he hopes the town board keeps in mind the reason for the trucks is to ensure safety.
`Places like Clifton Park and Niskayuna have separate leaf and plow trucks, our trucks do it all, and we just need to ensure we have the vehicles that are able to keep up the pace. It’s the main thing for safety,` said LeClair.
The next scheduled board meeting is at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 17. “