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Caz complies with DEC

Caz complies with DEC

Moran: Environment and taxpayers are the losers

By Willie Kiernan

Cazenovia Town Supervisor Liz Moran has her hands full. With environmental problems stemming from the highway department, an increased budget to prepare to pay for those problems, the comprehensive plan and an election year, it's a wonder she can still run her business and have time for her family. Now she's taking on something new and she's asking for everyone's opinion.

At the last town work session, Moran introduced a law that would change the way town government has been run. She wants the position of highway superintendent to be changed from elected official to appointed. This change has taken place in many other towns in the state. The benefits include accountability, consolidation and shared services.

"That position needs to be accountable to the town board," Moran said. "The job has become much more complicated and regulations are much stricter than they were 50 years ago."

In May of 2006, Moran received an anonymous letter alleging improper use of funds, equipment, and improper disposal of hazardous waste on the part of the highway department. An investigation was initiated by the town attorney and town board. A week later, the same letter was mailed to the Cazenovia Republican, but never appeared in print because of the newspaper's policy on anonymous letters.

With pressure from the board, an effort was made for improved training, increased reporting and better controls on off-site usage of tools and equipment. In the summer of 2006, the highway department made improvements to Stone Quarry Road, including a significant build-up. Demolition of the former highway garage on Riverside Drive took place later, in October.

Moran said she advised the highway superintendent, Gary Stowell to take the demolition debris to the landfill for proper disposal. His response was that he was an elected official and that the town board, including the supervisor, only had control over his budget. Later in the month, when torrential rains washed away a portion of the slope on Stone Quarry Road, the highway department used the material from the demolished garage to stabilize the embankment.

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