Town of Monroe and Kiryas Joel renegotiate highway contract

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:33

    Village pays $200,000+ annually in exchange for road maintenance, snow removal and up to $50,000 yearly for paving Monroe - The Town of Monroe and the Village of Kiryas Joel have renegotiated a highway maintenance contract in which the village will pay the town more than $1 million over the next five years in exchange for maintaining 54 roads, removing snow and up to $50,000 each year for paving. The two municipalities were already in the third year of a five-year contract that originated in June 2007. Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor Harley Doles III said talks to rework the agreement arose after village officials indicated they were considering a highway department of their own. “All municipalities are entitled to look at alternatives,” Doles said Thursday morning. “This (new contract) is a way to make it work for both parties. And it allows us to save two full-time union jobs.” The annual payments in the two contracts remain the same. The village was scheduled to pay the town $216,000 in four installments for services in the fourth year of the 2007 pact; that’s the same amount Kiryas Joel will pay the Town of Monroe in the first year of the new agreement. In each contract, the annual fee increases by $6,000. There are two differences: The old contract covered 50 village roads; the new one, 54 streets. The new contract includes a provision whereby the town will re-pave “roads, streets and drives open to the public for motor vehicle traffic ... at a maximum cost of $50,000 per year as reasonably determined by the Town Superintendent of Highways.” Doles said he expected the re-paving to consist of tar and chipping rather than black topping because the former is cheaper. The councilman also described the contract as a “sweetheart deal” because it guarantees funding for the next five years. Had Kiryas Joel pulled out of the arrangement, Doles said it would have meant the loss of between two and three union positions, according to the estimates provided to the town board by Deputy Highway Superintendent Robert Picinotti. The deal is not without some measure of controversy. The new contact was approved by a vote of four - Doles, fellow councilman Richard Colon and Gerard McQuade and Supervisor Sandy Leonard - to one - Councilman James Rogers. However, Leonard did not sign the new contract. She informed Doles she would be out of town on personal business the day the contract was to be signed and that Doles, as the deputy supervisor, was within his authority to sign it on behalf of the town. And in what could simply be a paperwork glitch, Leonard’s name is crossed out on the contract and Doles’ name is written in above it. The contract was notarized by Notary Public Aron Schreiber. “They seemed to want to do it quickly,” Leonard said. “And as acting deputy supervisor, Doles signed it.” This story was reported by Bob Quinn and Claudia Wysocki.