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Garbage can installation halted

SARANAC LAKE - It was a stop-and-go sort of meeting Monday night at the Saranac Lake Village offices.

With Mayor Tom Michael absent, the four remaining trustees on the village board gave one project tentative backing to move ahead and halted another in its track.

Three trustees voted to stop the installation of new, $400 garbage cans until the board can establish if the appropriate course of action was taken to acquire the items.

Two weeks ago, Trustee Jeff Branch raised an assortment of issues regarding the purchase of 40 garbage cans for a total of $16,000. Now, he says the village may not have acted according to its own bidding policy when it acquired the receptacles.

According to the village's purchasing policy, which was last revised in April of 2008, items acquired through purchase contracts of less than $10,000 are not subject to competitive bid requirements. For public works contracts, items must be less than $20,000.

But the garbage cans, which were listed as purchase contracts, cost a total of $16,000 - meaning that the board would have had to discuss that purchase in an open meeting and subject the action to competitive bidding.

"We would have discussed that here," Branch said. "And I can assure you that if we had, those garbage cans would never have been purchased."

Trustee John McEneany said that until it can be determined whether or not the village took the appropriate steps in acquiring the garbage cans, the installation of any more should stop immediately.

"I'm requesting we do not put out anymore trash cans," he said. "I would have dumped that $16,000 on Main Street and supported some local contractors."

Trustees Branch, McEneany and Susan Waters voted in favor of ceasing further action, while Trustee Christine Fontana voted against.

And while the garbage can issue came to a temporary halt, the future of a permanent skateboard park in the village became a little clearer.

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