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Big-ticket capital improvements in the works

Date: 4/27/2010

April 28, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Big-ticket capital improvements will be completed throughout the next five years, provided the City Council approves Mayor Richard Cohen's proposed Capital Improvement Program.

Cohen intends to make good on his promise to continue the Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project by appropriating $4.75 million for phase two of the six-phase project in the fiscal year 2011 (FY11) bonding schedule. Also included in the Capital Improvement Program is funding for street and sidewalk improvements, equipment replacements and $250,000 for upgrades to the school and municipal telephone system.

"The program presented represents a realistic, financially feasible long term program that has been reviewed with the [City] Council Capital Improvement Subcommittee," Cohen said. "As revenue estimates become available, revisions shall be made and incorporated in the capital budget portion of the annual budget."

He explained such changes could include funding for phases four through six of the Sewer Extension Project.

"This is just the five-year [plan] and we'll have a better idea [of how to proceed] once these phases [two and three] are in place," Cohen added.

City Councilor Robert Rossi, chair of the City Council's Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, said phase one is moving on schedule and planning for phases two and three are in process. He added once phase one is complete he wants to break ground on subsequent phases right away.

Other capital improvements slated for FY11 include street and sidewalk improvements. Depart-ment of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Anthony Sylvia noted a list of streets and sidewalks is being compiled in conjunction with a Sidewalk Master Plan, currently in development.

"I'm really pleased we'll be given additional Chapter 90 money [from the state] totaling $651,000, unfortunately that doesn't go a long way," Sylvia said.

He added the Chapter 90 funds would be used in addition to monies allocated within the Capital Improvement Program.

FY11 appropriations total approximately $624,000.

Cohen proposed $840,500 in general fund appropriations for FY12, including $128,000 for an energy management system at Robinson Park Elementary School, $60,000 for a folding gym door at the junior high school and $48,000 for facility improvements to the DPW.

Allocations for FY13, FY14 and FY15 include $1.7 million for a new roof and HVAC system at the junior high school, $25,000 for a feasibility study of renovations to the police station and $1.4 million for the street improvement program.

The City Council will vote on the FY11-FY15 Capital Improvement Program at an upcoming meeting.