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A worker for Sullivan County Paving moves rocks into position as part of a flood mitigation project on the Callicoon Creek in Youngsville last fall. Though the Town of Callicoon has paid the contractor, it has not yet seen the promised compensation funds from the state.

Callicoon awaits state funds

By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE — July 16, 2010 — It was work done on private property, but Town of Callicoon taxpayers are still stuck holding the bag on a $100,000 flood mitigation project completed last fall.
Supervisor Tom Bose says the town paid a contractor $125,000 for work done in the streambed behind the Mowers and More dealership in Youngsville based only on a promise from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther that state funding was available to cover $100,000 of the project.
In October, the board unanimously passed a resolution approving work be done in the streams, but dictating the work would not be paid for until a contract was received from the New York State Dormitory Authority guaranteeing the town would be reimbursed in full for a project overseen by the Sullivan County Soil and Water District.
That vote came Oct. 12.
A week later, on Oct. 19, then Supervisor Linda Babicz signed a contract for the work with Sullivan County Paving, a contract Town Attorney Marvin Newberg later said he was never able to review but eventually deemed binding for the town.
Acting as lead agency on the project, the board paid out $125,000 to make good on its end of the contract.
The amount pledged by the Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District, $25,000, has been sent back to the town already.
But Bose read a letter aloud at Monday night’s meeting of the town board which he sent June 17 to Gunther’s office after repeated phone calls were left unanswered.
The letter, which laid out a reminder of Gunther’s promise, including her actual visits to the site, had yet to be answered as of Monday night’s meeting, along with additional phone calls, Bose said.
“This project was conducted entirely on privately owned property,” Bose read, “This fact prohibits the town from providing any funding for the project.
“However, upon learning of your commitment to the project in the amount of $100,000 by means of a reimbursement grant and the commitment for the balance of the project by Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District, the town agreed to provide the temporary funding to make the project possible.”
With no reimbursement, Bose said the town is going into its budget planning season short $100,000.
It’s $100,000 that is necessary to cover the cost of a new highway department truck that will replace a 20-year-old vehicle, a purchase that can’t be avoided.
“This will have a significantly adverse affect on our budget, and ultimately, our taxpayers,” Bose said.

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