Fredonia officials still don’t know what to do with the downtown parking meters that were removed during the recent beautification project.
They also wonder why and how the funds that could have been used to relocate them instead ended up in a budget line of the Opera of Fredonia.
Missing meters and misplaced money were prominent topics at a Fredonia board workshop on Monday.
Mayor Douglas Essek opened the discussion by asking Police Chief Philip Maslak to place the new meters the village has in stock. He suggested they be put in the grass, rather than cracking through the new concrete.
The trustees noted that workers would have to walk through concrete on Park Place in front of the Russo Building, in order to install meters. “It’s more complicated than just drilling a hole in the concrete. It’s a four inch hole ”, Maslak said. The village does not have the appropriate drill and trustee James Lynden has suggested renting it.
Maslak asked Department of Public Works director Scott Marsh if there was money available to work on the meters.
“In fact, that was my next question on the cost side”, Lynden said. “Is there anything left for the parks, and there was the funding that was supposed to have stayed from the opera that wasn’t, and that’s a substantial amount, the difference that we end up making.” to lack. We agree if the opera doesn’t do the seats they wanted to do, with the money they thought they had.
“There is about $ 40,000 left, but I think it’s going to have to go back to opera”, Administrator EvaDawn Bashaw said.
“I would like to know exactly how it happened” Lynden said seconds later. “There was money, and then there was no more, and there was supposedly about $ 300,000 to work, and now there is no more, there are only about 40 left. $ 000. “
“And supposedly there was a contingency fund for the park project that never existed”, Bashaw said. “We have a lot of detectives to do here, but I would say at this point there is no way we can spend any more money on the park project.”
“Somehow, sooner or later these counters have to go back”, Mayor Douglas Essek later said. He called on trustees to meet with downtown project consultant Joy Kuebler, Fredonia opera director Rick Davis, Marsh, treasurer Erlyssa LeBeau and grants consultant Travis Gordon to clear up confusion regarding money.
The mayor said, “There was a lot of money left in the opera fund, and that’s why Rick Davis … was going to be able to replace the seats, and nowhere do I remember the board of directors allowing anyone to transfer money to them. parks. I don’t know where we went with that, and if so, hundreds of thousands of dollars, where did it all go? I’m not sure about that.
Village officials said they could apply for a grant to fund opera seats. “I know Rick wants to work with us to help find a solution, one way or another,” Lynden said.
“We absolutely have to have this discussion with these people and we have to do it shortly here, because someone dropped the ball or did something wrong here, and we have to understand that,” said Essek.
Trustee Scott Johnston asked: “When the park project started, was the assumption not to put the parking meters back in place, or did we still intend to put them back in place? “
Essek replied, “I’m not sure there was really a solid discussion about whether they were going to be handed over… I think the board was also thinking about the possibility of kiosks.”
“I am surprised that the costs of reinstallation were not included in the price of the project at the start” Johnston said.
Lynden said those costs could be included because by law the meters must be there unless the directors pass a resolution to remove them.
“It seems to me that there is an accounting problem on the part of the grant administrator, which has become an issue here, which needs to be addressed and we need to have confirmation of exactly where it is.” , he said.
Bashaw said responses to this matter were received from LeBeau earlier today. Essek said he didn’t know.
“I want to see it on paper. I don’t just want to say, well, ‘you talked to him, I talked to him’ “ Lynden said.
“The problem is, the paper trail shouldn’t have been done by her, and I’m not sure we’re going to have one, because I don’t think there is one”, Bashaw said.
Essek again said he was not aware of any discussions with LeBeau and called for further consultation with the board on what was said.