Council finalizes capital projects borrowing list

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:

Public Safety
Air handlers 20,000
Air compressors 30,000
Police Department
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
Fire department
Rescue/recovery Boat 25,000
Garage doors/openers replacements 80,000
Public Works
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
Codes vehicle 30,000
Road repairs 500,000
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
Influent screen 300,000
Sandy Drive sewer extension 177,000
Main Street parking modifiication 10,000
Pump station gas detectors (3) 20,000
Potentiometer study 20,000
Golf Course
Building maintenance and repair 60,000
Groundsmaster mower 50,000
City Hall
Repair portico and reset steps 74,875
KRONOS time clock systems 55,000
Misc plumbing repairs 20,000
Pickup truck (used) 20,000
Supervisor vehicle 20,000
Vegetation equipment 40,000

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.