In response to ongoing issues with improper town purchases, the Amherst Town Board approved a “new” vendor contract Monday that was backdated to Aug. 6 to pay off $56,488 in outstanding invoices for work that dates back to last summer.
Nearly 20 more invoices remain unpaid because of various problems, Town Comptroller Darlene A. Carroll said at the special meeting.
The backdated contract for paving materials with Municipal Milling and Maintenance, based in Angola, will resolve nearly half a dozen unpaid bills that were held up by the comptroller because the Highway Department purchased paving materials from the company even though the town was under contract with another supplier.
At the board’s meeting a week ago, Highway Superintendent Robert Anderson said All American Paving was initially asked to provide the materials, but the company stated it was unable to do so for three weeks, an unacceptable delay during the summer paving months.
When board members asked why Anderson hadn’t informed the board that the low bidder was unable to perform and why he hadn’t sought approval to award a contract to Municipal Milling, Anderson said he didn’t know what his general foreman had done until he was told by the town comptroller late last year.
During that meeting, the resolution to pay Municipal Milling failed despite a 3-2 vote in favor because one of the board members was absent and a four-vote majority was needed. This time, a resolution to approve a contract with Municipal Milling and a separate resolution to pay the vendor were both unanimously approved 6-0.
Council Member Mark Manna asked Carroll to provide a breakdown on every bill that still remains unpaid at the board’s next meeting.
“I still have a real issue with businesses that provided us with a service … and yet we’re holding up payment for some reason,” he said.
Carroll said nine invoices are being held up because vendors have not yet been able to supply proper insurance paperwork covering employees who do digging, climbing or electrical work on town property.
Council Member Guy Marlette said he will introduce a resolution at the next meeting to create an in-house database with information about which vendors have proof of insurance and when that insurance is set to expire.
In other news, the Assessor’s Office asked police to escort an 87-year-old woman from Town Hall on Monday afternoon after she made repeated comments about guns and wanting to shoot people. The woman had become upset when an employee told her she didn’t have all the papers necessary to grant her an enhanced STAR tax-relief exemption for seniors.
Interim Assessor Ann Terranova said the office occasionally deals with angry residents over their assessments and that any comments regarding guns typically result in a request for police assistance.
“We take these things very seriously,” Terranova said.