Wednesday, March 14, 2012
By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE
HURLEY, N.Y. — Delays in securing state Senate approval are keeping the town from reassigning a $100,000 grant for rail trail improvements to finance a solar panel installation at Town Hall.
Town Supervisor Gary Bellows said state approval is needed for the money to be reassigned. “We’re getting restless a little bit with this,” he said.
“We were told it is stuck with the Senate because there has to be a change made to go from the rail trail to this new description of solar panels,” Bellows said. “All of the paperwork from our office has been submitted. ... We had a group come in to supply us with numbers; they all look good, so it’s a matter of the Senate now taking it up. I’m sure that they are very busy with a couple other matters that have to be decided in the next couple weeks.”
The funding was initially secured by state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, for rail trail improvements, but as it turned out, the town came in well under budget for paving and parking lot work and didn’t need the state funding for the project.
Bellows in November said a request was submitted in May 2011 for the funding to be switched from the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to the state Dormitory Authority.
“The reason (for the delay) is because of the change in administration — there was a tug-of-war between the powers that be in Albany,” he said. “The grant was awarded to us, then it was taken away, then it was given back to us, then it was taken away again, and then finally it was given back to us again.”
Bellows said the rail trail, which runs along U.S. Route 209, was already completed when the grant was approved.
“We have the nicest rail trail in all of New York state,” he said. “Why would I want to put in another $100,000 when I can reduce taxpayers’ taxes by putting solar panels on (Town Hall)?”