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      Oswego County lawmakers speak out about sand quarry project and taxpayer waste

      Democrats in the Oswego County Legislature along with several Hannibal residents and a member of the Hannibal Town Planning Board are calling for a "bi-partisan legislative investigation into a questionable deal for road sand that wasted taxpayer money.

      Minority Leader Michael Kunzwiler told reporters at a news conference this evening "a full investigation needs to take place." And he added "it is a duty of government to operate in such a way that there is no appearance of i m propriety."

      Kunzwiler told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that they are not satisfied with a review by county adminstrator Phillip Church which found "no intentional wrong doing."

      The legislators will make their requests for a bi-partisan investigation at Thursdays meeting of the Oswego County Legislature.

      Kunzwiler says if the legislature rejects his request he intends to file an ethics charge against oswego County highway superinten den t and call for the New York State comptroller to investigate this apparent waste of taxpayer money.

      Our Jim Kenyon was first to report about how neighbors in Hannibal caused Oswego County to abandon a project to mine sand or winter road maintenance. Oswego County administrator Phil Church has been investigation the failed project. He says he has found no intentional wrongdoing on the part of Highway Superintendent Curt Ospelt.

      Last year, former county legislator Jack Beckwith contacted Ospelt and offered him the opportunity to mine sand from his property in Hannibal. The county needs an inexpensive source of sand for roads in the winter, but neighbors claim they knew nothing of Beckwith's lease arrangement with the county until highway crews built an access road connecting the quarry to Route 3 last month. Their complaints forced Ospelt to abandon the project and tear up the road.

      Originally the amount of taxpayer money wasted on the failed project came to $43,000, but now they figure it is just $10,000.

      Oswego County Lawmakers did agree to change procedures as a result of the controversy. They will now make sure that all lease arrangements go through proper legislative approval that people are notified in advance and all permits are properly obtained.