2017-04-19 / Front Page

Andes board member, highway super. clash over equipment purchase requests

Tense exchange was carried out at board meeting
By Joan Lawrence-Bauer

Town of Andes board members grappled with a daunting list of equipment needs for the highway department at their monthly meeting last Tuesday evening and revealed some sharp disagreement with Highway Superintendent Mike McAdams.

Saving their most challenging work for last, board members tackled demands from McAdams for repairs or replacement of a roller loader and chipper and the possible purchase of a new truck. Gladstone opened the discussion by pointing out the need to prioritize the equipment needs and all council members expressed the need to stay in budget and keep taxpayers in mind.

Moshier erupts

Councilman Shayne Moshier wasted no time in calling McAdams on the carpet. “You knew we needed this. Why don’t you fix it?”

As Gladstone tried to calm the two, Moshier continued, “I’m not going to ague but I’m not going to approve an $80,000 request when a $5,000 fix would do it.”

When Moshier continued with, “If I ran my business like you run this department, I’d have been out of business by now,” Town Clerk Kim Tosi suggested Moshier was out of line and Gladstone again tried to calm his colleagues. Weighing the pros and cons of repair or replacement, McAdams then interjected, “I’m not researching anything,” adding “he can do it himself.”

After a lengthy discussion marked by repeated outbursts, board members voted to put the loader out to bid and get estimates on the roller before taking any action, to which McAdams responded with, “I’m not going to spend much time on this. I’m retiring and I don’t care.”

With a no vote from Councilman Hall, the board agreed to repair the chipper as long as it could be done for the price represented by McAdams.

While other matters, including the appointments of Eric Van Benschoten to the Board of Assessment Review and Skip Parcell for the Planning Board received unanimous approval, board members did not agree on exactly how to handle the highway equipment demands.

The meeting opened with a “good news” presentation by Margaretville Telephone Company officials indicating that Andes is slated to get high speed broadband service sometime this year as part of a major expansion being handled by the phone company in conjunction with the Delhi Telephone Company and the Delaware County Electric Cooperative.

“This is the missing link for us,” said Andes Supervisor Bud Gladstone noting, “It is critical for people who want to run businesses to have the high speed coverage,” and anticipating the speed would be increased from six mbps of download speed per second to 100 mbps.

In answer to a question from Gladstone, MTC’s Steve Finch said they are also prepared to tie in the emergency service tower at the top of the old Bobcat Ski Center. He indicated that crews are on the ground now and that major work will get underway during the first part of May.

To another question from Gladstone, Finch indicated that as different parts of the project are completed, people who live in those areas will be able to subscribe for service without waiting for the entire project to be completed. “We’ll door-tag people to tell them when it’s available,” said Finch. “Then they can decide if they want the service or not.”

MTC Manager Glen Faulkner added that cell carriers want fiber optic cable to towers and MTC will do that, as well as cable upgrades, but MTC will not itself, provide cell service.

In other news, Gladstone reported on paperwork for the community’s declaration of emergency from the March snowstorm and noted he signed a shared service agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) so they would complete snow removal in Andes. Gladstone lauded the DOT efforts saying they came quickly and cleaned the snow from curb to curb exactly as requested.

Other business

Gladstone announced plans for a fundraiser for the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society to be held in memory of former planning board member Ed Callahan who died suddenly last year. Saying it would be a motorcycle ride event in July, Gladstone assured residents it was not a race and would not put an undue burden on the community.

Board member Tom Joyce noted that a group of residents are hoping to revitalize the Andes Chamber of Commerce and will have a meeting on April 25 at 6 p.m. to try to achieve that goal. Joyce said the meeting would be at the Andes Hotel and anyone interested would be welcome.

Noting that their last comprehensive plan had been completed 14 years ago, the board agreed to work with the Delaware County Planning Department to update the document.

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