Callicoon board agrees to pay $100K
By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE A project the Town of Callicoon Board agreed to administrate will tie up $100,000 in the reserve fund until it gets reimbursed by the state.
After a mid-meeting executive session to discuss possible litigation, the board voted Monday evening to pay Sullivan County Paving $100,000 for flood remediation work performed behind Mowers and More in Youngsville.
The move came despite an October resolution passed unanimously by the board 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, Supervisor Linda Babicz signed a contract for the work with Sullivan County Paving.
Town Attorney Marvin Newberg said Monday evening he was never given a chance to view the contract before it was signed, and it was signed without a written stipulation that monies would not be expended until the receipt of contract.
Babicz said she had a verbal agreement with Sullivan County Paving owner John Bernas regarding the Dormitory Authority Contract, but Bernas sent a bill anyway. It was tabled at the November meeting by the board, then Bernas sent another request for payment in December.
The validity of the verbal agreement and lack of a written stipulation prompted the executive session, with Newberg stating he was uncomfortable discussing possible litigious matters in open session.
Babicz said she has gotten confirmation from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther that the state funds have been officially requested, and Gunther’s office is confident they will be forthcoming despite the hold up from the Dormitory Authority. Waiting on monies from state agencies is not uncommon, she added.
“The last money we received from John Bonacic took 11 months,” Babicz noted.
True, said Councilman Tom Bose, but “that was after the contract was received.”
With no contract, board members said they worried the payment would be a problem for the township.
“The money is from a reserve fund it’s not going to harm the operations of the town,” Babicz said of making immediate payment.
Asking board members if they wished to withhold payment, Bose responded that it likely wasn’t an option.
“I think we have to pay it,” he said. “I think the problem is we’re not going to get it back.”
A 15-minute executive session quickly followed, with board members returning to regular session to vote “aye” on payment of the bill.