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Colden board talks highway budget issues

CONCORD—Members of the Colden Town Board discussed some recent concerns with the highway budget during the Dec. 7 meeting.

Colden Highway Superintendent Paul Clarkson started his report with an agreement to spend for upcoming work. Colden Supervisor James DePasquale said with some of the work Clarkson has planned and done throughout the year, it should have been scheduled as a project with the original budget and it now leading to some over-budgeting.

“That is what is supposed to be done in October when we do the budget because the board approves the budget by projects,” DePasquale said. “This year, we are just spending money on a whim whenever we think to do a project, which is not the way the government budgets are supposed to go. It is supposed to be all pre-planned.”

Later in the meeting, Clarkson asked the board for a purchase of pipe to have as extra in case of emergency projects. DePasquale said the town already budgeted for pipe in 2017 and buying this extra pipe is not in the original budget plan. Clarkson said he can wait until January to buy the pipe and use money from the 2018 budget.

“You told me you wanted pipe in the budget and we budgeted for the pipe,” DePasquale said. “If you are saying this order comes in and this is your pipe for 2018, we bill it in 2018 … you can’t just say I’m buying this much pipe and keep planning jobs until it runs out and then I’m going to buy more and plan a few more jobs.”

While Clarkson said he thought it was right to do it this way and keeping a stock ahead of time, DePasquale said working on a whim is not how the system works, even though they might not agree with how the budgeting system works.

“We have to be more in control because we, the board, are responsible for the money and the financial aspect,” DePasquale said. “I am a firm believer that [Clarkson] is the highway superintendent and I don’t want to short him from what he wants to do, but unfortunately the new laws handcuff people from being prepared. I would be there to help Paul get stuff if we needed it, but we have to follow the budget process and we have to follow the rules for the budget.”

In other board news:

– Councilman Gerald Pietraszek reported work was completed to remove two large trees from Cazenovia Creek within the town.

– DePasquale reported the Recreation Department recently received a donation for $500 in which the town is looking at purchasing a projector to host outdoor movies and movies in the senior center during the winter.

The next Colden Town Board meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Colden Town Hall, 8812 Route 240 in Colden.

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