At a Finance Committee meeting held Thursday evening, members of the Common Council came to a consensus on a plan to borrow $3.4 million for infrastructure repair and equipment purchases. The decision comes after several meetings over several months where members went through a large list of projects to decide which items were needed this year, and which ones could be held off on.
Four of the five members verbally agreed on the final list. Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler opposed the decision, citing concerns over the city’s ability to pay back the loan. Hatzenbuhler advocated borrowing only $1 million for only the most critical projects, and then waiting until the city’s financial records are fully reconciled in order to borrow for additional items.
According to Controller Matthew Agresta, fixed administrative costs for each round of borrowing would make splitting the list more expensive. However, Hatzenbuhler said the issue of the city’s ability to pay back the loan was the greater concern. Agresta pointed to the city’s good credit rating, its ongoing ability to meet its financial obligations, and the fact that the city has paid off approximately $3 million in debt this year, as reasons to be confident the city can afford the borrowing.
Both Alderman Ed Russo and Alderman Ron Barone said they were “comfortable” with the borrowing amount and felt the items on the list were necessary.
The $3.4 million list includes $500,000 for road repair which will be reimbursed through NY State’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). Other major items included in the list include $500,00 for demolition of city owned properties, $100,000 for stabilization of city owned properties, and a total of $480,000 for either a sewer jet truck and a vacuum excavation truck, or one truck that performs both functions. The list also includes money for an inspection of the city’s sewer and drainage system which is mandated by NY State, as well as a variety of upgrades, new equipment, and vehicles for the various city departments.
Items that did not make the final list include $500,000 to extend city water lines to the Concordia senior living project, $325,000 to match a NY State grant to add artistic improvements to the Mohawk Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge, and $231,00 for vehicles and equipment for a proposed city ambulance service.
According to Agresta, the next step for him is to contact the city’s bond counselors who will draft a resolution for the council to officially vote on.
Below is a complete list of capital projects agreed on by the council:
|Network computer hub||40,000|
|Copier/scanner – records management||15,000|
|Cameras – wireless units||15,000|
|Computers for vehicles||35,000|
|Garage doors/openers replacements||20,000|
|Garage doors/openers replacements||80,000|
|4WD pickup truck with 8′ plow||38,000|
|4WD Service body truck (sewer)||35,000|
|Stainless steel electric pickup salters (2)||4,500|
|4-wheel drive pickup (sanitation)||35,000|
|Single axle hydraulic sewer jet truck||220,000|
|Single axle vacuum excavation truck||260,000|
|Tandem axle dump truck (for snow removal)||75,000|
|Asphalt hot box||20,000|
|Water Street extension||80,000|
|Demolition of city owned properties||500,000|
|Stabilization of city owned properties||100,000|
|Water treatment plant waste pumps upgrades||75,000|
|Stabilization of Grieme Ave slope||65,000|
|Dam assessment on Vlye and Steele||30,000|
|Flood wall assessment (two-year)||50,000|
|Brookside Dam demolition||50,000|
|Shuttleworth dam permit issue||30,000|
|NYSDEC Consent Order||130,000|
|Sandy Drive sewer extension||177,000|
|Main Street parking modifiication||10,000|
|Pump station gas detectors (3)||20,000|
|Building maintenance and repair||60,000|
|Repair portico and reset steps||74,875|
|KRONOS time clock systems||55,000|
|Misc plumbing repairs||20,000|
|Pickup truck (used)||20,000|