To the Editor:
Kurt Ospelt, the County Highway Superintendent, signs a contract for a sandpit with Jack Beckwith, a former County Legislator, without any of the other County Legislators knowing about it.
They got their mining permit from NY DEC.
The County then builds a road on Jack Beckwith’s property, which is private property, to get to the sandpit.
The project is named the “Woodruff Road Project” but it actually connects to State Route 3.
They built the road without getting permits from the State DOT or the Town of Hannibal, even though they knew they needed them.
Neighbors see the road construction, and realizing no one was notified, called to inquire about it.
Kurt Ospelt stops the road project and a letter dated July 16th was sent to the Town of Hannibal Planning Board that states “ The Oswego County Highway Dept. has abandoned its plan to open a sand pit on the Beckwith property effective immediately. It is also the intent of the Highway Dept. to remove all the material used to construct the entrance road and restore the property to its original condition.”
The “top layer” of the road was then taken out.
But at a Oswego County Legislature committee meeting, County Administrator Philip Church said in an article in The Valley News dated August 3rd “The sand pit project is on hold and it will be up to the Infrastructure, Facilities and Technology Committee to decide whether to approve the contract for the sand pit and put in the road.”
When asked by the media how much it cost to build and remove the road, Ospelt says $33,000 to put it in and $10,000 to take it out.
Then Legislator Kevin Gardner says it really only costs around $10,000 to build since they own the equipment and supplies.
Really? Don’t they have to replace those supplies they use? What other County project didn’t get done while they wasted time building this road?
Could Ospelt, the head of the highway Dept. really be that off with his calculations?
Then at a committee meeting they say nothing was done intentionally wrong and it was basically an “OOPS.”
Seriously?? Do County officials really expect the public to believe this was just an honest mistake, an oversight, an accident? Really?
Those involved say they were trying to provide a cheap source of sand, but where are the studies showing this is a cheap source after spending $33,000 to build a road to get to it? Were other alternatives looked into before making this “deal”?
There needs to be an independent investigation of everyone involved in this fiasco.
Every taxpayer in Oswego County should be mad at how YOUR money was spent.
Is this how they run all their projects? What else have they done like this but just didn’t get caught?
Remember, it’s YOUR money they are spending, not theirs.
Call your County Legislator, the Attorney General, and the office of the State Comptroller and tell them you want an independent investigation of how this happened, who was responsible, and that you want accountability for this and every project they do.
George and Carol Darling
and the concerned citizens of Hannibal
and Oswego County