Monticello's long-awaited Broadway renovation project has been put on hold yet again, according to Charles Walker of the NYS Department of Transportation. I called Mr. Walker on September 2nd. After we spoke, he e-mailed me a copy of the letter from Village Manager John Barbarite which appears below.
To put the matter in context, note this question and answer from the April 21, 2008 minutes of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees:
Dr. Marc Hudes questioned if the consultants hired by the Village regarding the Broadway Project were going to hold additional informational meetings regarding the design since once the project is completed the residents will live with the result for the rest of their lives. He cautioned the Board to make sure the NYSDOT does the right job and not cut corners and take into account the needs of the residents and the business owners.
The Village Manager explained that the previous administration has already signed off on the design of the plan that will go out to bid this May and to incorporate new changes would probably require this project to be scrapped and start over again.
Weeks later, on June 16th, with no authority to do so, contrary to two unanimous resolutions of the Board of Trustees (see below), knowing full well the effect of asking for changes (evidenced by the above answer to Dr. Hudes), Village Manager John Barbarite sent the following letter to the NYS DOT incorporating changes to the design of the plan:
The above letter was provided by the DOT about why the lights were canceled came as an attachment to the following message. Mr. Walker told me the project will not begin until the spring or summer of 2009:
Aside from knowing that asking for changes "would probably require this project to be scrapped and start over again," the following resolutions of the Board of Trustees show that Mr. Barbarite acted wholly without authority when he made this change to the Broadway plan. See resolutions of January 28, 2008 before the March election; and May 23, 2008 after the election, both carried unanimously -- approving the Broadway plan as submitted and directing that no changes be made by the Village of Monticello.
In my opinion, lights are essential for Broadway's safety. The greatest deterrent to street crime and road hazards is LIGHT! Until Mr. Barbarite put his fingers into the matter, we were assured what amounted to an $896,000 grant to pay for these lights. They should not have been deleted from the project. and the Board of Trustees must now take action to reverse Mr. Barbarite's unauthorized move.
On January 28, 2008, the former Village Manager, Ray Nargizian, reported to the Board of Trustees:
On Wednesday, January 9th I received a call from the Department of Transportation (DOT) informing the Village that the State has agreed to reinstate installation of the decorative lighting for the Broadway project. Three years ago due to financial constraints the DOT removed from the Broadway project decorative lighting. After several months of intense negotiations the Mayor and I convinced the DOT that the right thing to do would be to install said lighting.
Without Mayor Barnicle’s persuasive abilities and his tenacious persistence DOT would not have given in. Decorative lighting on the Pleasant Street project cost $14,000 per lamp post. The Broadway project will have 64 decorative lamp posts. They will be “green friendly”. If you do the math that amounts to an $896,000 grant. Thank you Mayor Barnicle.
At the end of September 2, 2008 meeting, when Trustee Victor Marinello and I repeatedly demanded to know who authorized Mr. Barbarite to send the above letter to the DOT deleting the lights from the Broadway renovation project (since the Board did not), Mr. Barbarite's only response was to assert that it wasn't his fault that the project was canceled again, for yet another year!