FONDA - The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors approved two contracts to pay townships for snow removal and grass mowing on county roads Tuesday, despite calls from some members to cut costs and pay less.
As the contracts stand, from 2013 through 2014, the county will pay towns and the village of St. Johnsville $350 for every mile of grass mowed and $5,250 for every mile of snow plowed - the same as in prior years.
During the discussion of the mowing contract, Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito "Butch" Greco called for a $35 dollar per mile cut, while Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeffery Stark called for the contract to be lowered to one year.
Both amendments to the mowing contract failed.
Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said he would not support the amendment, stating the town of Amsterdam just bought two new lawnmowers.
"It's going to take a long time to make up $150,000 on that rate as it is," DiMezza said.
The snow removal contract was even more contentious, with Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara demanding to see the "mathematical formula" for why the county pays that much.
Stark said the amount was changed from around $2,000 in 2007 to $5,000 in 2008.
Root Supervisor John Thayer, the board's finance committee chairman, asked for an amendment to decrease the rate to $4,950 per mile on the snow contract.
Thayer said the county is looking at a $3 million shortfall in the upcoming budget. He said a less expensive snow contract is something his town can afford.
"But that's my town. I know the decrease could devastate other towns' budgets," he said.
Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald J. Barone Sr. joked that he would make the rate a little more than $2,000, "just for the fun of it," since he claimed it was ridiculous and knew it wouldn't pass.
Both amendments failed.
St. Johnsville town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano said he felt the board should have waited a month until the board could be given statistics to better analyze the situation before making a decision.
His motion to table each resolution failed.
Charleston Supervisor Shayne Walters said he failed to see what the big issue was with this contract.
"I sign between nine and 15 contracts every week, and I guarantee people have no idea how much they amount to," he said. "Yet we're debating this matter, and it's one of public safety."
Walters also said it's cheaper to pay the towns for snow removal on county roads than it is to pay for new plows and have the county do it.
Arthur Cleveland is the Montgomery County reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org