Malone Town Officials Freeze Municipal Spending Because of State Budget Uncertainties

Malone Town Officials freeze municipal spending because of state budget uncertainties
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Malone town officials freeze municipal spending because of state budge Malone Town Officials Freeze Municipal Spending Because of State Budget Uncertainties Malone town officials freeze municipal spending because of state budget uncertainties MALONE — In light of the uncertainty in government budgets at all levels, the Town Board on Wednesday agreed to institute a freeze on spending and purchases.

Supervisor Andrea Stewart proposed the freeze because of provisions in the recently adopted state budget that would allow the Cuomo administration to make changes to aid to local governments and shift money from one area to another without legislative approval.

“I think it would be prudent for us” to put a halt to most spending until the state’s financial situation becomes more settled, Stewart said.Malone town officials freeze municipal spending because of state budget uncertainties

The budget freeze would block any new purchases by the town until they have been reviewed by the town budget office, Stewart said. Only purchases deemed essential would be allowed to go forward.

Stewart expressed particular concern about Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funds, commonly referred to as CHIPs funds. The program provides state funds to localities for road and bridge projects, including the reconstruction and repaving of local roads.

CHIPs money often accounts for most if not all the local costs of those types of projects.

Without knowing how the state will ultimately allocate the CHIPs money, it will be difficult for municipalities to plan their summer paving schedule, she noted.

Town Board members unanimously supported the spending freeze.

“I think we have to be prudent right now,” said Councilor Candy Gadway.

Despite the freeze, Town Board members agreed to move forward with the installation of a new security system at the town highway garage.

The garage currently has only rudimentary security, and town officials said they want to see the system upgraded to include more technologically advanced locks and a camera system at the facility.

The garage houses equipment and tools worth a million dollars or more, Stewart said, so beefing up security at the site only makes sense.

“We can’t afford not to do it,” she said. There is money in the current town budget to pay for the project, she said.Malone town officials freeze municipal spending because of state budge

The project could go forward despite Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent prohibition on all but essential construction projects, Stewart said. Most municipal projects are exempt from the construction ban –– an exemption that will also allow construction to start on the sidewalk along U.S. Route 11 between the Aldi plaza and the Walmart Supercenter, she said.

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