LITTLE VALLEY – In Cattaraugus County, about 2,000 scales and gas pumps are required to be inspected regularly.
The responsibility rests with one person – Allen Halladay, the county’s director of weights and measures, who has told county legislators the job is, to say the least, taxing.
“Not only do we have devices that have to be maintained, under the state Agriculture and Markets Law, but we have other places that would like to have their devices checked for accuracy as well,” said Halladay during a recent meeting.
In 2004, Halladay had two staffers to assist him, but the jobs were cut because of budget concerns. In addition, Salamanca and Olean dissolved their own weights and measures departments and now fully rely on the one-person county unit.
“My biggest concern is whether he can keep up with the devices and the pace in getting them done,” said Legislator William E. Sprague, D-Yorkshire. “That is a lot of ground to cover.”
Halladay agreed. “I can’t keep up, but I do what I can,” he said. “I have done everything in my control to streamline the process and make sure devices under the state laws are maintained.”
That means he is unable to inspect businesses with scales not covered under state law, which may wish to impress their clients with a county issued sticker proving the scales are accurate. Gas pumps and grocery store deli scales are currently the key priorities.
Halladay also has to take his measuring equipment to Albany for periodic recalibrating.
The county is working to achieve 90 percent compliance on its pumps and scales. “In Cattaraugus County, we are at about 88 percent in compliance with tolerance on devices,” Halladay said. “New York State would like to see 90 percent.”
Merchants failing to comply can face civil penalties ranging from fines of $25 to $600. Scales or pumps also are restricted from use until they can pass inspection.