AVON — A $57,2371 grant obtained by the Town of Avon is on the brink of being returned to the State because of the Town’s inability to meet the timelines guidelines.
During last Thursday’s Town Board meeting, Avon Town Clerk Sharon Knight informed the Town Board that due to time requirements and the fact that the grant must be fulfilled by a New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) partner, the Town is likely not be able to meet the deadline necessary to receive the grant. The grant was awarded to the Town to pay for the digitization and scanning of approximately 171,000 documents.
“This is a colossal screw up,” said Town Councilman Jim Blye, who voiced great frustration over the fact that they were turning away ‘free money’ because they are not being able to meet simple timelines set forth by the grant. “This has been handled incredibly poorly. People want to talk about representing the tax payers in a good way and this isn’t it.”
According to Knight, the Town would have to walk away from the grant and return the $32,000 they have already deposited from the grant, plus potential interest.
“It appears that given the time deadlines set forth by NYSID we will not be able to complete the time requirements for completion on the project set by NYSID.” said Knight.
Knight pursued multiple bids from a variety of companies and repeatedly sought adjustments to those bids prior to the Town voting to awarding the contract. The deadline for the scanning and confirming of the proper scan on the 171,000 documents in fulfillment of the grant by June 15th. The state strongly encourages that Biels, a document scanning specialist, be awarded the contract.
The time challenge of the project isn’t the actual scanning of the documents, it’s the logistics involved. According to a Biels’s representative who attended the meeting the documenting and invoicing of the contents of the estimated 62 boxes of documents, including unique tax maps and building permits, need to all be properly counted prior being sent out for digitization as well as confirmed that they were properly documented upon return.
Town Board Councilman Bob Ayers made a motion to approve awarding the contract to Biels with unknown time deadlines that would later be set in order to get the ball rolling prior to the next Town Board Meeting. No other Town Board Members seconded the motion so no vote was made.
At the end of the meeting the Town Board instructed Knight to pursue any other possible timeline extensions as well as iron out any specifics with Biels on an accurate schedule for the project.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Avon Town Hall Opera Block. (File Photo)
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