Remember when I said a Badger is basically the same as a Gradall?
Remember the bond resolutions last October when the town wanted to bond for a new Gradall and the Town Highway Superintendent had already signed a lease/purchase agreement for a 2006 Gradall even before the bond resolutions had been voted on by the Town Board on October 4, 2006 (note the date the lease/purchase agreement was signed...9/21/06)?
By law, the Highway Superintendent does not have the authority to enter into a lease/purchase agreement without board approval and a permissive referendum. By the way, the Highway Superintendent NEVER DID bother to get board approval to enter into the lease/purchase agreement. When a member of Concerned Citizens asked about that fact at the March 14, 2007 town board meeting, Mr. Cleveland said he "needed" a Gradall. Does anyone find it interesting that the Highway Superintendent would, without town board approval and prior to the bond resolution vote allowing for the purchase of a new Gradall, sell the 1995 Badger we already had, when the town "needs" one?
If you have followed some of our blogs, you will also know that as the result of a bid invitation the town clerk placed in the paper on February 22, 2007, the town only received one bid for the purchase of a new Gradall and it just happened to be a bid from the same company (Vantage Equipment) that the Highway Superintendent had signed a lease/purchase agreement with in September 2006.
However, according to the 2007-2008 insurance list we recently FOILed, the town is now insuring a 2007 Gradall not the USED 2006 Gradall that was listed on the lease/purchase agreement! The bid invitation specifically said the town was seeking bids for a USED Gradall...it would appear that there was some sort of "switcheroo" between the time of the bid and the time of purchase.
By the way, you may remember that even though the taxpayers of this town voted to not bond for a new Gradall; the town board voted to BAN for the new Gradall so the debt was incurred whether we like it or not! The BAN is for $207,800, plus the $15,000 lease purchase agreement payment making a total cost of $222,800 for a Gradall that we, the taxpayers, voted not to purchase.
As a side note, at this past town board meeting on November 20th, the Highway Superintendent asked the town board to agree to co-sign a grant proposal that Oneida County is submitting for a new Gradall. Supposedly, the Town of New Hartford would be able to "borrow" the equipment, plus the driver, if "needed" and the equipment wasn't being used by the County. When the town board asked if the town "needed" to borrow an additional Gradall, the Highway Superintendent said sometimes there is a "need" for a second Gradall. Go figure...why did the Highway Superintendent take it upon himself to sell the 1995 Badger for less than half of what it was worth, if the town sometimes "needs" a second one?
We are awaiting more FOILed documents on this topic. The town clerk "hopes" to have the information to us by December 14, 2007. Considering the fact that the Town Clerk is the recordkeeper for the town, it is rather strange that FOILed documents appear to not be readily available. Just wait until you hear the rest of the story regarding the DMV license plate surrender receipts...it's a classic.
There is certainly an odor permeating the town of New Hartford and it appears to be emanating from the town offices.