Kingston, NY announced that the city will be borrowing $800,000 to help repair and replace some of the its aging sewer infrastructure. The money will be used to help repair infrastructure that is near a new roundabout the Department of Transportation is building.
The city voted 7-2 to borrow the money to make the repairs.
Minority Leader Deborah Brown voted against the measure, claiming that the city is forcing the roundabout to be built. She also asked if there have been talks with the Department of Transportation to potentially split the repair costs.
The city will use a variety of methods, including trenchless sewer repair, to fix sewer lines that intersect with Broadway, Albany Avenue and Col. Chandler Drive.
City officials have been discussing the building of a roundabout for over five years. Brown claims that officials never warned the public or mentioned the need to upgrade the sewer’s infrastructure due to the new roundabout being made.
Sewers near the roundabout are 75 – 100 years old, according to city engineers.
Sanitary sewer pipes in the area will need to be replaced by the city. The Department of Transportation will be responsible for replacing any storm water infrastructure that needs to be replaced as a result of the roundabout.
Arguments in favor of the sewer repair and replacement project claim that the city should make the upgrades necessary now while the infrastructure will be less costly to put in place. The surface treatments that will be put in place during the roundabout’s creation will be more costly and difficult to break through.
City officials got approval for $800,000 in borrowing despite the project being estimated to cost $685,000. Officials wanted to take a proactive approach in their lending to make sure that they had the funding in the event that the project runs over costs.
Mayor Steve Noble announced days later that he recommends replacing more than just the city’s old water pipes when the work begins on the roundabout. He claims that he realizes that there are a lot of projects already in the works, but says that he would rather improve the infrastructure now instead of during an emergency situation.
The roundabout’s construction is set to begin in October 2018, so city officials have ten months to hash out the details of the infrastructure improvements to be made.
The roundabout is slated to take two years to complete. Noble is on the Board of Water Commission, too. The Board will need to review the request and work through the logistics of replacing the infrastructure now rather than later.
The Board of Water Commissioners previously stated that replacing the infrastructure would cost $1.1 million, which is much higher than the current $685,000 estimate. The Board couldn’t come to a decision on whether or not to make the repairs now or later.
Water user rates will rise as much as 2% following the loan. Residents can already expect a 9% to 10% hike in their bill due to mandated repairs on Cooper lake reservoir.
It’s highly likely that damage will occur to water mains during the roundabout’s construction.