Oswego County lawmakers call for investigation into sand quarry project and road to nowhere
By Jim Kenyon
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 17:22:33 GMT — Minutes after CNY Central aired an investigative report about a newly constructed road that is now being torn up at taxpayer expense, Oswego County legislators began texting and calling each other. Now, there are calls for a formal investigation. On Wednesday, CNYâ??s Jim Kenyon revealed how angry neighbors in Hannibal forced the Oswego County Highway Department to tear up a road to a sand quarry that had been constructed just weeks earlier.The neighbors complained that the Highway Department violated proper rules and procedures for such a project.According to Oswego County Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt, it cost $33,000 to install the road and an additional $10,000 to tear it apart.The report also revealed that the sand quarry is owned by a former Oswego County Legislator Jack Beckwith, which led some people to believe it was part of a "sweatheart deal" with the county. Bechwith adamantly denies anything was underhanded. After seeing the report, County Legislator Mike Kunzwiler said he and other legislators contacted each other and realized they knew nothing about the project. He says the project should have gone through a legislative process for approval. Kunzwiler says he will call for a legislative investigation into the situation. He has also contacted the State Attorney Generalâ??s Office and will ask for a formal investigation by that office.Osphelt, however, says, "I was just looking for winter sand so people can drive safely. As Highway Superintendent, I felt that was my obligation."Ospelt said he felt that public notification was up to the New York State DEC, which approved a mining permit for the project.Ospelt said that when neighbors complained that they were not notified, he decided to abandon the project and restore the property to the original state because "things got out of hand, so we said to heck with it."
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