Village truck purchase stalled by tight finances

By Joe Moskowitz
A special meeting of the Margaretville Village Board was called on Monday to deal with some rather routine business, but in an age when governments have to be careful with every dollar, and tough choices have to be made, a simple task like buying a truck means something else may not get done.
The village needs a new truck. It has three, but an 11-year-old vehicle that runs fine and only has about 76,000 miles on it, is falling apart. Department of Public Works Commissioner Henry Friedman said it is rusting out and the box, which is meant to carry a ton, can’t hold much of anything anymore.

Saving some bucks
Friedman told the board that by joining with an upstate county that is purchasing several vehicles, Margaretville can get the truck with a stainless steel box that won’t rust, at a significant discount.
 Most of the money to pay for the truck would come from the New York State Consolidated Streets and Highway Improvement (CHIPS) fund.
But Village Trustee Iris Mead said if that money is used to buy the truck, then there won’t be any CHIPS money to pay for street repairs. Margaretville, like many places, had its roads ravaged by potholes this past winter. After a short debate it was decided that while the streets need patching, replacing the truck was a more urgent need.

Purchase approved
The board approved the purchase of a new vehicle at a cost of $52,477 of which $46,000 will come from CHIPS funds. The remainder will come from money that has already been set aside in the budget, which had been approved at the board’s last regular meeting.
That spending plan did require a minor change at Monday’s special session. Budget Director Beth Bush said a small error had to be corrected. The village will take about $600 less out of the reserve balance, or surplus, to balance the budget. Nothing else changes. The tax levy increase will still be 1.03 percent in the new budget.
In other board action, David  Livingston was approved as part-time deputy clerk and registrar. The board announced there will be a celebration in honor of the Margaretville Central School students whose dress design won first prize in the recent New York State Olympics of the Visual Arts. The celebration will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Commons Building on Main Street.