By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FONDA -- The Montgomery County Legislature is looking into a potential error made during an open-bid auction of county-owned real property earlier this month.
The mistake was called into question at Tuesday's regular meeting when District 4 Legislator Ryan Weitz asked to amend a resolution accepting the bids of nearly 100 auctioned properties. Weitz asked to pull one particular property, Parcel 43, a 3-acre parcel in the town of Glen, which sold for $135,000 to Buanno Holding LLC.
"There was a hiccup in the auction process in which three parcels that went as one group, ended up being sold separately," Weitz told the board. "Parcel 43 was sold to the highest bidder and the other two parcels ended up going to another bidder who backed out."
The question became how to proceed, as Weitz suggested that the two smaller parcels be added to the larger parcel and it go out for bid via online auction or a request for proposals (RFP).
The two smaller parcels cannot be sold and developed individually because there is a minimal development lot size in the town of Glen, he said.
"By combining the three, it becomes an approximate 5 acres of riverfront property right off the Thruway that is extremely valuable," Weitz said. "It would be a shame for half of it to be developed and the rest to just sit there."
However, some members of the legislature raised concerns that going out to bid again would penalize the original bidders.
"I don't want to see that happen," District 3 Legislator Roy Dimond said. "It's a mistake and Buanno Holding should not be penalized for the auctioneer's mistake."
Legislative Chairman and District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush agreed and suggested they just sell the two parcels that were supposed to be part of the bid to Buanno Holding. However, Weitz said the properties could not be sold outright but through an online auction, as advised by county Treasurer Shawn Bowerman.
District 6 Legislator John Duchessi said more information has to be gathered before voting.
There was also confusion as to whether pulling the parcel would mean Buanno losing its bid, but Weitz said they weren't rejecting the bid but pulling it from the list to be voted on in the future.
When the legislature continued to debate the issue, Duchessi suddenly made a motion to table the entire resolution, which was quickly seconded by Dimond. The measure was defeated 7-2.
Then the legislature voted 7-2 to call the question to order, meaning further discussion or debate on the amendment was not allowed. Dimond and Quackenbush voted against it.
This prompted roll call on the original amendment, which passed 8-1 with Dimond voting against it.
The entire resolution, accepting the entire list of bids except for the one, was approved 7-1 with one abstention. Dimond voted against the resolution while Quackenbush abstained due to several parcels on the list purchased by his brother Jesse L. Quackenbush of Palatine Bridge.
Other resolutions passed at the full board Tuesday include:
* Amending the 2014 operating budget by transferring $41,963 from special supplies and materials to the computer software line for the board of elections to acquire full document imaging technology to work with the currently installed software used for voter registration purposes.
* Adopting a local law establishing a hotel or motel occupancy tax in Montgomery County not to exceed 4 percent. The tax is charged to people occupying any facility providing lodging on an overnight basis, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns and tourist facilities. The bed tax is not applicable to "permanent residents," which are those individuals occupying any room or rooms for at least 30 consecutive days.
* Approving the proposed certificate of incorporation and consenting to the formation of the Montgomery County Capital Resource Corp. This will allow the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency to finance civic facility projects with tax-exempt bonds.
* Reducing the community service program coordinator position from full-time to part-time due to a decrease in the number of youths eligible to participate in the community service program.
* Amending the 2014 operating budget by $6,000 for a network/systems administrator for the Montgomery County Sheriff's department.
* Amending the 2014 operating budget to appropriate $15,000 from the fund balance for raises for part-time employees as part of the new Civil Service Employees Association contract. For 2014, employees receive a bonus between $125 and $625.
* Appointing members to the Cornell Extension of Fulton and Montgomery Counties Association Board of Directors, Audit Committee and Capital Projects Committee.