To the Valley News:
It is my intention here to address Elizabethtown Supervisor Bartley’s comments in her Sept. newsletter and the Valley News article of Sept. 8.
Supervisor Bartley announces in her newsletter that the sewer project is on hold. The important question would be why? There has been no Town Board action regarding this; no discussion, no motions, no votes; not in any legal meetings and not even in the illegal meetings that occurred back in March.
She also states that the Environmental Facilities Corp. recommended the Town examine alternative plans. This is true, but the E.F.C. is only one of several state agencies involved and there has been no Town Board action regarding this. No discussions, no motions, no votes; not in legal meetings or the illegal ones.
In February the Supervisor announced the intention to complete the town sewer project and be “shovel ready.” This occurred at our regular monthly meeting and again at a special meeting in the school. Within 2 weeks it all changed, but it changed without Town Board discussion, votes, or resolutions.
Suddenly alternative plans were the mantra and a series of illegal meetings occurred thru March, which resulted in $34,000 of invoices from the engineers. The Board never discussed, voted, or approved by resolution these expenses or alternative plans. The Board was not aware until April that there might be expenses, but by then it had already happened. By May and June the D.E.C. notified the Supervisor that these expenses “ were not expenses included under the existing contract,” and were “ suspending further reimbursements.” On June 12 the Supervisor told the engineers to stop work on the existing sewer project, but again, with no Board discussion or involvement. By Sept. letters from the engineering group’s lawyer’s started to appear and the Board went into private executive session to discuss pending litigation.
The water meter project evolved in a similar manner. The Board never discussed or voted going out to bid for engineers and, to my knowledge, was it never advertised. Regardless of this two bids were received, but only one bid was presented to the Board at the August meeting. Some Board members were not aware of the second bid. The presented bid was accepted, but included $11,128 of “estimated” costs; not a fixed bid.
This is not the way elected officials are supposed to be dealing with taxpayers money, nor is it the way to function as a Board. Bartley stated that we’re in a “ war of words “, but I prefer to think it’s a debate of law and the proper legal methods of elected officials.
Ken Fenimore, Elizabethtown