Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Mayor's CIP contains mostly housekeeping projects

Date: 5/5/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Mayor Susan Dawson has proposed a trimmer five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the City Council's consideration next month.

The fiscal year 2010 (FY10) CIP appropriates millions for housekeeping improvements, not large-scale building projects. Appropriations for FY11 - 2014 include mostly housekeeping with the exception of a few large-scale projects.

Dawson said the latest CIP is "reflective of what we [the City Council's CIP Committee and the mayor's office] felt was important."

"There are some sizeable amounts even though there aren't as many projects [as in previous years]," City Councilor Paul Cavallo, also member of the council's CIP Subcommittee, said. "[But before approving the CIP on June 15] I want to make sure that we're in the bounds of our bonded debt."

He noted that the city is still paying on the bond for the Department of Public Works (DPW) facility, the high school expansion and the new Senior Center on Main Street.

Appropriations for FY10 include $150,000 for DPW equipment; $150,000 for the Street Improvement Program; $30,000 for sidewalk rehabilitation and extension; $48,765 for the replacement of the Benjamin J. Phelps Elementary School gym floor; $65,774 for the Wastewater Fund; $54,595 for the Water Fund; and $31,000 for the Agawam Municipal Golf Course.

DPW Superintendent Jack Stone noted that CIP appropriations and Chapter 90 funds from the state, totaling about $1.2 million, will allow repairs to be made on Cooper, Silver, Southwest, Albert, North Westfield and Reed streets.

He explained that streets are chosen based on pavement condition ratings from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

Teresa Urbinati, principal of Benjamin J. Phelps Elementary School said she's pleased with the appropriation for the out-of-date cement gym floor. She added that the funding is necessary to ensure student safety during physical education classes.

Dawson noted that her major project for FY10 is the new Voice Over Internet Protocol Telephone System at a projected cost of about $477,000.

"I wanted desperately to make sure that the phone system was included in this budget because the phones are failing," she explained. "We could wind up completely shut off in our town because there's [so much] increased call volume."

The overall CIP includes funding for street and road repairs as well as equipment replacement each fiscal year.

Appropriations for large-scale projects include $2.3 million to the School Department for an all-weather track and bleachers in FY11; a projected $6.7 million to the Wastewater Fund for Phases II and III of the Feeding Hills Southwest Sewer Extension Project in FY12; and a projected $1.5 million for the replacement of the junior high school's roof.

The Public Hearing of the FY10 - FY14 CIP and the FY10 city budget will take place at the City Council's June 15 meeting.