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GLEN SPEY, NY — “Some broken hearts never mend,” according to the song—and some positions never change.
Lumberland town law provides that the highway superintendent “may only make repairs and improvements to town highways in the manner provided in the superintendent’s agreement with the town board.” Accordingly, highway superintendents each January provide a list of roads, called a Section 284 agreement, that they plan to repair in a given work season.
These are often pro-forma discussions, as boards generally leave the decision to the superintendent’s expertise. However, the “284” has prompted debate annually in Lumberland. Councilman Jim Akt is a contractor who believes that the town should buy and use a hot-paving unit for its roads.
Since his election in 2013, highway superintendent Don “Bosco” Hunt has used contracted paving equipment, and Akt has opposed his recommendations, saying the expense of the contractor is multiplied by the cost of not using town employees.
Asked why he voted no, Akt said “This is what I do for a living. He’s got four guys sitting around on their butts.”
Hunt countered that the actual costs of using Akt’s proposal are greater, when the costs of long-haul trucking to an asphalt plant are included. Additionally, contractors guarantee the work, while the town bears all costs otherwise.
Akt is the board’s contrarian, frequently the sole “no” vote in board decisions. As he does each month, he also opposed, without comment, the payment of Lumberland’s monthly bills.
In other business, code enforcement officer Dave Sparling, who also serves on the town’s zoning review panel, reported that some online posted rules regarding minor and major subdivisions and the town’s obligations toward them do not match language “in the book” and that he has not been able to find out how they got there.
The board accepted a $975 low bid from W Design in Barryville for the production of a new instructive brochure for public interactions with the town building department, funded in part by a $787 Upper Delaware Council technical assistance grant and in part by the town.
After some debate about taxpayers’ desire to pay taxes by credit card and confusion about the town’s past credit-card handler, Town Clerk Laurie Terry reported receiving $200,000 in tax revenues as of January 9 and only four credit card inquiries.
Responding to Akt’s query about whether problems at the town cemetery regarding the inability to locate proper burial sites— an issue discussed by the board last month—councilman Leigh Sherman said the maps were found. “We had them all the time.”