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Input on Capital Improvement Program sought at June 6 meeting

Date: 6/1/2011

June 1, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

AGAWAM — The City Council will host a public hearing on the town's five-year Capital Improvement Program on June 6 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Roberta G. Doering School, located at 68 Main St.

"We're mandated pursuit to article 5.3 of the Agawam Home Rule Charter and under state law that we have to provide a five-year plan," Mayor Richard Cohen explained. "It's a wish list and an estimate of the projects we'd like to do in the next five years."

Cohen added that the program is "a way to make sure you are budgeting and planning in a financially prudent manner."

Included in the discussion will be the proposed capital improvement projects listed as a part of the fiscal year 2012 (FY12) budget.

"If you look at our proposed fiscal year 2012 budget, our debt has gone down and I have not done a lot of capital improvement projects," Cohen said. "I'm not looking to take on any debt we can't afford."

Among the proposed capital improvement expenditures for FY12 are $9,500 toward repayment to other communities for the Hampden County land the town acquired when the county government system was dissolved, $150,000 for street improvements, $50,000 for equipment purchases for the Department of Public Works (DPW), $30,000 for sidewalk repair and extensions and $50,000 for a Global Positioning System for DPW trucks.

"This will allow us to monitor routes and plan ways to save energy," Cohen said.

Additional proposed expenditures include $25,000 for a new digital scanner and printer for the Engineering Department that can handle documents up to 36 inches wide, $40,000 to replace an air compressor for the Feeding Hills fire station, $12,000 to replace a backup generator at the same station, $8,928 to supplement a $80,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security so the Fire Department can purchase new cardiac monitors and extraction equipment and $25,000 to purchase a folding gymnasium door for the junior high school.

The budget also lists an approximately $36,000 expenditure for equipment replacements at the Water Department, $47,000 to replace equipment for the Wastewater Department and $60,000 for ongoing equipment replacements at the municipal golf course.

"Every year I ask [my department heads] for projects they feel are necessary," Cohen explained. "It's always subject to change based on the economy, based on the availability of grants and based on need."

Other projected FY12 expenses include the first year debt service on bonding for a town wide telephone system, drainage improvements on Suffield Street, Phase II of the Feeding Hills Southwest Sewer Extension Project and water main design work for Main and Suffield streets.

Proposed projects from fiscal years 2013 through 2016 include a new roof and heating/air conditioning system for the junior high school, Phase III and IV of the Feeding Hills sewer project, renovations to the police station, and several water main projects.

"Some have been in here a for long time," Cohen said. "Some will happen, some won't."

Cohen said copies of the complete Capital Improvement Program are available at the library and other public locations.

The proposed capital improvement spending for FY12 is available online at the town's Web site, as part of the proposed operating budget.

Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at

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