Capital projects approved, emergency funds to fix water leaks added

The Common Council officially voted to go ahead with borrowing just under $4 million to fund dozens of capital projects including critical water and sewer system repairs as well as new equipment, vehicles and upgrades for the various city departments. Council members have been debating over a long list of projects first compiled by City Engineer Rich Miller and presented to the council back in February. The council came to a final consensus in May and finally voted unanimously on a resolution to approve the borrowing at Tuesday’s meeting.

The final resolution includes approximately $600,000 more than originally planned. There were several reasons for the increase.

According to Controller Matt Agresta, the exact amount of money the city will receive for road repairs under NY State’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) is now known to be $565,000, which is $65,000 more than what was previously estimated. The city will borrow the money up front in order to get the best terms from contractors by being able to pay them in a timely manner, rather than waiting to be reimbursed from NY State.

Agresta also said that contingency amounts were added to some of the projects because they had been estimated several years ago. Approximately $335,000 was added for this reason.

According to City Plumbing Inspector Erwin Harnish, the city has two major water leaks that are in need of emergency repair. Harnish said at Tuesday’s meeting that after hiring a contractor to locate all the leaks in the city’s water system, one major leak was found near the intersection of East Main Street and Schuyler Street, and another was found in the vicinity of Cedar Street. Harnish said the leaks were wasting large quantities of treated water, which is costing the city money each day.

“It’s to the point where the plant is really laboring to keep up,” said Harnish.

Harnish said that only about half the city’s system has been checked so far because the noise generated by the two major leaks is hampering the contractor’s ability to pinpoint additional leaks. He said that there may be additional leaks on Division Street and Locust Avenue.

“There’s so much noise, they can’t tell if it’s a house service or a main,” said Harnish.

Harnish said he estimates the cost to repair the two major leaks will be $90,000 and anticipates approximately $110,000 to fix additional leaks once the entire system is checked. The council amended the resolution to include the additional amount.

Tim Becker

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