BETHLEHEM—Town Highway Superintendent Brent Meredith called Spotlight News on Friday, Aug. 19, to counter recent claims made by Roland Graves, one of two democratic candidates for the soon-to-be-vacated town board currently held by Doris Davis.
Graves, in a recent interview with Spotlight, said that he decided to run after several frustrated attempts to get public officials to respond to issues in his neighborhood and elsewhere in town. He specifically cited the recently completed repairs on Krumkill Road near the Albany border that required residents to find alternate routes for several months, saying that he was unable to find out from the town when the project would be completed.
“I personally spoke with him during the spring while the Krumkill project was going on,” said Meredith of Graves. “I told him that anytime he needed information to please call me.”
Also, Meredith said, there was available, “regularly updated,” information regarding the project that could be found on the town’s website. “The updates that we provided are still online, under the news section,” he said. “You can look for yourself.”
“And every time we talked about this at a town board meeting,” he continued, “we had an end date that we were shooting for, which was the end of July. That was a well-known date. For [Graves] to say that he had no idea what the date was is just untrue. It makes us look unresponsive at best, and incompetent at worst. We consistently had a date of July and it’s a date that we met.”
“I talked to him and I talked to other people in those neighborhoods and I gave them the best information that I could,” said Meredith, adding that he was proud of the town’s efforts to keep residents notified. “Believe me, we had a lot of complaints about why it was taking so long. Unfortunately, it was a more technically complex project than that which we normally do—so, there was a long design phase and it involved a lot of regulators—and I don’t think there were many ways for us to shorten the time frame. We even bought materials before we signed contracts to make this thing happen by July.
“I know Roland [Graves],” said Meredith. “I talked to him personally on several occasions and offered any information I had. So, for him to say that he talked to people from the town and nobody could tell him anything I think is just disingenuous.
Defending his position—and the town’s—on a separate issue concerning a proposed vehicular roadway connection at the end of Fieldstone Drive through a potential subdivision that would be built between that neighborhood and Elm Avenue Park, Meredith said, “Having a dead-end street is not a great situation when it comes to maintaining and providing services on a street. When you have an opportunity like this, especially on a street that was always, according to the planning department, supposed to be a through street when that next development was done. I really do think it’s in the best interest of all the town residents. It’s not the best thing for Fieldstone residents, I get it, but it’s in the best interest of the town because the long-term maintenance that we provide, and the services we provide are going to be more efficient on a through-street.”
Residents unhappy with the potential cut-through feel that town officials have been unresponsive to their concerns about resident safety and disruption of protected wetlands, as well as their efforts to reach a compromise.