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Colonie town board adopts spoils policy

The 2007 paving scandal at the Rod and Gun prompted Colonie officials to adopt a new policy that would require the town to deposit spoils a composite of dirt, tree bark and debris at a designated dumping spot.

The policy, which was put in place by the Town Board at the Thursday, Nov. 6, meeting, states that should a dumping spot not be available, the spoils can be distributed to private landowners at no charge to the landowner after heads of several town departments, including the Department of Public Works, agree, "so long as such disposal is found to be in the public interest of the town."

"This policy will be used by all departments in the town and has been accepted by the state comptroller," Supervisor Paula Mahan said.

The unanimous decision came nearly six months after state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report that stated the previous town administration did not act in the best interest of taxpayers when they permitted spoils to be deposited and used in a spring 2007 paving job at the private West Albany Rod and Gun Club. The audit also concluded that the paving job was completed using town employees and town materials at a cost of $48,000 to taxpayers -- a significantly higher price tag than alternative options, according to DiNapoli.

In his June 18 report, the comptroller used the term "improper" but not "illegal" because, he said, while the actions of the administration were not against the law, they were completed in a fashion that was not in the best interest of taxpayers of the town. DiNapoli also suggested in his report that the town create a policy that would prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.

"In summary, we concluded that town officials did not handle the disposal of these spoils as economically as possible, or conduct the disposal in a transparent manner to provide accountability to taxpayers," DiNapoli wrote in the audit.

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