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February 21, 2018 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, bridges, news, notify.

Genesee County is responsible for more than 380 bridges and culverts. But for each grant-writing periord, it is only allowed by the state to apply for funding from Bridge NY for repairs to and replacement of four bridges and six culverts.

At a recent meeting in Albany, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens asked a representative from the Department of Transportation if there was a workaround for that limitation.

The consultant's suggestion: Get each of the towns in the county to apply for grants for four bridges and six culverts. There is no reason, he said, the towns can't apply, but let the county administer the grants once they are received.

"That's potentially 26 bridges instead of two," Hens said. "I don’t know that we’re going to get that many, but I’m going to try to get as many applications in as I can. Even though they are theoretically awarded to the town, the county would still administer it and hire the consultant and manage the construction. Bridge NY projects are funded 100 percent so there’s no cost to us or the towns."

In the last round of Bridge NY grants, the county applied to fund four bridge replacements and on funds for only two -- one on Searls Road and another on Pratt Road.

Grant applications are due in April.

Hens said he has met with town superintendents in the county and they support the proposal. It will take the towns' cooperation to get the applications in on time.

Bridge NY grants are reimbursements. The bridges get built and paid for and then the state sends the money to the local jurisdiction that won the grant.

The county has about $17 million in proceeds from the sale of the Genesee County Nursing Home that legislators have promised to use on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. 

Since it is reimbursement based, we would spend the money first and we would get reimbursed for all of the funding," Hens said. "That would be another great use of our nursing home proceeds, just to manage cash flow for those projects."

Once the projects are done and the county is reimbursed, Hens said, that money could then be used for infrastructure projects that must be locally funded.

The county will be spending about $2.5 million of those proceeds this summer on three projects -- replacing the Stroh Road bridge in Alexander, replacing Colby Road in Darien, and on eight culvert replacement projects around the county.

In response to questions from members of the Public Service Committee on Tuesday, Hens said the Stroh Road bridge has been submitted four times for federal funding. Funding was granted twice, but then the bridge was knocked off the list.

Even though the bridge is critical to that part of Alexander, where there are nearby farms and a quarry, it's low traffic volume makes it a low priority for state and federal aid. The next chance to apply for federal aid is 2020 but the deterioration of the bridge has reached a critical stage, so Hens does not recommend waiting on an iffy prospect of getting a grant to cover its anticipated replacement cost of $1.5 million to $1.6 million.

Bid requests went out yesterday to contractors, Hens said.

February 21, 2018 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Jail, infrastructure, news, notify.

Even though it's likely Genesee County will have a new jail in five or six years, the current facility still needs maintenance and the latest expense is $71,487 for upgrades and modernization of the jail's 32-year-old elevator.

The elevator is needed for safe transport of inmates between floors of the three-story facility as well as getting meals up to the second and third floors.

"We have a preventative maintenance contract with these folks (Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp.) and they do do annual inspections per state standards and the last couple of years we've been fixing a lot of the little things," said County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens. "It's gotten to the point where they said we can't certify it anymore if you don't do the whole kaboodle."

Hens said the county became aware of the need for the upgrades about a year ago and $73,000 was set aside in this year's capital project budget for the elevator.

Former Sheriff Gary Maha, now a county legislator, said without the elevator, meal delivery to the upper floors would become much more difficult and tedious, carrying trays of food up the stairway. He also said moving inmates between floors is safer on the elevator than in the stairwell.

Of course, that is exactly what will need to happen during the period that the elevator is out of service for the upgrade.

The Public Service Committee unanimously approved at its Tuesday meeting moving the resolution in support of the project to the full Legislature for its consideration.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the committee approved moving forward with a resolution to award a $20,075 contract to TSG Security for upgrades and repairs to the fire alarm system at the County Courthouse. The current system is 25 years old and needs repairs. The county had set aside $28,000 for the project.

The committee also approved a resolution rejecting a $400,000 bid for stonework and other facade work on the former Sheriff's Office building, now Genesee Justice, on West Main Street. Originally, the county expected to spend $200,000 on the project, but with a strong economy, contractors are busy, driving up their bids, and there's more work than originally anticipated on the historic Medina sandstone building. This summer, Hens will prepare grant applications to seek financial assistance to cover the cost of the project.

February 2, 2018 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, water, news, alexander.

At $197 per user per year, the price Village of Alexander residents would be asked to pay for a new water system seemed quite a bargain to at least one person who attended an information session at the Alexander Fire Hall on Thursday night.

"When I compare this to my cable bill, and water is an essential of life and cable isn't, this is cheaper than my cable bill," said Dawn Townsend at the end of the hour-long meeting.

Consultants Steve Mountain and Jeff Smith laid out for the residents the engineering and financing of the project and then answered questions.

The goal of the project is to replace an aging and break-prone water system that is also susceptible to spreading contaminated water, with all new water lines from the water source in Attica to and around the Village.

In all, 30,000 feet of water main would be replaced with new eight-inch and 12-inch PVC pipe. The Village would also receive new fire hydrants, a new pump station, and new water meters at each residence.

As a result, asbestos would be eliminated from the system and the potential for lead contamination would be eliminated. Water quality would likely improve and residents -- and fire hydrants -- would receive increased water pressure.

The total cost of the project is an estimated at $3.97 million. While that's an estimate contingent on final plans being drawn up, Mountain said he feels comfortable with the estimate based on what he's observed with the Village of Elba recently undertaking a similar project.

Village officials have identified a water infrastructure grant that would cover $2,382,000 -- or 60 percent -- of the cost.

The Village would borrow $1,588,000 through a program that would reduce the interest rate by a third, making it approximately 2.26 percent over the 30-year life of the loan.

The annual debt service per water customer then would be $197 each.

Without the grant and without the low-interest loan, the cost would have been $568 per user per year.

While the Health Department has put the Village on notice about low levels of contamination, particularly for haloacetic acids (HAA), a byproduct of the water cleaning process, concentrations are low enough that there is no health threat.

The new pipes wouldn't trap HAA the way metal pipes do currently, thereby reducing the amount of the chemical in the water system.

The other benefit for residents is that the new system and new hydrants should help improve the insurance service rating, which should mean lower insurance premiums for homeowners.

"We're going to make sure everything we do increases this rating as high as we can," Mountain said.

Smith said Village officials will continue to pursue grants that may come available to help reduce the per-user cost further.

There was a water main break in the Village awhile back that cost $200,000 to repair. In that case, an emergency grant helped cover the repair cost, but Smith said Village residents can't always count on those kinds of funds being available to cover future breaks.

The new system should have a practical useful life of 80 to 100 years.

January 21, 2018 - 7:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, news, Announcements, infrastructure.

Press release:

The Village of Alexander will be hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb 1, at the Alexander Rec Hall. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the public about plans for the possible replacement of the entire village water system.

Anyone receiving water from the Village of Alexander is encouraged to attend.

The Rec Hall is located at 10708 Alexander Road (Route 98), Attica.

January 10, 2018 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department is on location of a water break in front of 53 Otis St. The water service will be interrupted on Otis Street from Ellicott Street to South Jackson Street.

We appreciate your understanding while this repair is made. Please avoid the area if possible. Every effort will be made to keep water service interruption to a minimum.

This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted. 

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: The break is repaired. The crew did not need to turn off water to residents. The street should be open by noon.

December 15, 2017 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

There is a water main break on Richmond Avenue in front of Van Detta Stadium. Crews are on site to make repairs which will take several hours. Please be advised that Richmond Avenue will be closed to traffic between Union Street and Verona Avenue until repairs are complete.

November 16, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, Bank Street, infrastructure.

bankstreetclosednov162017.jpg

Bank Street is closed today for water line repairs.

The work will result in service disruption for some water customers in the area.

UPDATE 1:46 p.m.: Bank Street is reopened.

November 15, 2017 - 1:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

On Thursday, Nov. 16, the City of Batavia Water Department will be repairing a water leak on the main water line on Bank Street.

Water service will be interrupted on Bank Street from East Main Street to Washington Avenue.

Bank Street will be closed to traffic at 8 a.m. from East Main Street to the entrance of the Mall parking lot until repairs are complete. Please avoid the area if possible. Every effort will be made to keep water service interruption to a minimum.

This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

October 20, 2017 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

A water main break has occurred on Union Street south of Richmond Avenue. A Water Department crew is on site to make repairs. Water service on Union Street between Richmond Avenue and West Avenue will be interrupted until repairs are complete.

October 18, 2017 - 8:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Avenue, batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

Richmond Avenue will be closed between Bogue Avenue and Woodrow Road on Thursday, Oct. 19th, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for street repair.

All motorists are asked to avoid this area and seek alternative routes. While work is being performed in this area, the roadway will be closed to all through traffic. Local traffic will be permitted to and from their residence/property but should plan accordingly for delays.

All residents/businesses within the work area are asked not to park on the roadway during repairing operations.

This is weather-dependent work. If work is postponed it shall progress next work day. Please, plan accordingly and contact the Bureau of Maintenance with any questions. Thank you for your cooperation in advance. 

UPDATE 12:35 p.m.: Richmond Avenue is reopened to all through traffic.

October 13, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, infrastructure, genesee county, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today wrote to Gov. Cuomo and New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Matthew Driscoll asking for increased funding to repair and secure dozens of local bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient by a recent report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.

“Securing infrastructure funding at the local level is like pulling teeth every year in Albany,” Hawley said. “Just because we are a more rural community compared to New York City doesn’t mean our local roads, bridges and highways take any less punishment.

"If anything, our bridges wear down more easily because many more residents drive and our agriculture and small business vehicles are constantly shipping more goods across the state.”

Statewide estimates to make all the necessary repairs are $27 billion, with 23 percent of Genesee County bridges and 16.2 percent of Orleans County bridges categorized as structurally deficient.

“This is about giving peace of mind to our bus drivers as they bring our children to school, our parents making the morning commute to put food on the table and  our small-business owners working hard to transport their goods to market,” Hawley said.

“Government’s top priority should be the safety of its residents, and that starts with roads and bridges in which we have confidence, allowing residents and tourists to travel safely. Securing funding to make this a reality is a must, and I will fight in the coming weeks and months to make that happen.”

October 5, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bank Street, batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the City of Batavia Water Department along with UMMC will be replacing valves on the main water line on Bank Street.

The water will be turned off on Bank Street from East Main Street to Washington Avenue.

Work will start at 5 p.m. Water service interruption will be kept to a minimum. This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

Bank Street will be closed to traffic from East Main Street to Washington Avenue.

September 26, 2017 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

On Thursday, Sept. 28, one of the businesses in industrial park will be conducting a fire pump test. This work may result in a period of discolored water in the general area of Pearl Street, South Main Street and River Street. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

September 19, 2017 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, county highway, news.

towntruckspavingsept292017.jpg

Genesee County is leading the state in shared services among municipalities, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told members of the County Legislature on Monday.

As an example, he pointed to paving work on South Main Street Road this week.

Hauling in asphalt are trucks from Pavilion, Byron, Elba (two), Batavia (three), Stafford (two), Alexander and Bergen.

The crews will also resurface Byron Road this week.  

The $570,000 project is paid for by a state grant.

The South Main project is 3.8 miles and Byron is 4.5 miles.

"It seems things like just keep getting better and better," Hens said. "We have a great mix of (town) superintendents."

September 13, 2017 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

Tracy Avenue in the City of Batavia will be temporarily closed to traffic from Washington Avenue to North Street, Wednesday, Sept. 13th, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for sewer repair. Motorists are asked to seek alternate routes.

August 10, 2017 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

On Thursday, Aug. 10, the City of Batavia Water Department will be doing an emergency replacement of a water valve. The water will be turned off on Vine Street from East Ave to Bank Street and all of Farwell Drive.

We will keep water service interruption to a minimum. This work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

July 27, 2017 - 6:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in River Street Bridge, batavia, infrastructure, news.

img_1199.jpg

Two giant cranes lifted away the deck of the River Street Bridge tonight as part of a reconstruction project for the bridge spanning the Tonawanda Creek. 

Unfortunately, during the time the cranes were doing the work, I couldn't stop because I had else I needed to be and by the time I got back, the work was done.  If anybody took any good pictures, please send them to [email protected] and I'll add them to this post.

July 25, 2017 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, National Grid, infrastructure, news.

townledlightsjuly2017bb.jpg
Photo By Howard Owens. 

Lights along Park Road: The white light in the top of the frame is in the Town of Batavia and one of the new LED lights installed by National Grid. The two yellow streetlights in the background are in the City of Batavia.

Press release:

National Grid has converted 72 streetlights to LEDs in the Town of Batavia, which should reap the rewards of long-term cost and energy savings. The streetlight changeover represents the largest such LED streetlight conversion completed by National Grid in Western New York.

The streetlights were retrofitted as part of National Grid’s Outdoor Street Lighting Conversion Program, which enables communities to switch from high-pressure sodium lights to high-efficiency LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting. The conversion was completed in May.

The Outdoor Street Lighting Conversion Program is open to all of National Grid’s Upstate New York municipal and governmental streetlighting customers with roadway style fixtures and promotes the adoption of energy-efficient LED technology through the transition of company-owned streetlights.

“We converted the streetlights for long-term cost savings for our residents, which could total around $2,000 annually,” said Town of Batavia highway superintendent Tom Lichtenthal.

“Working with National Grid, there was a little bit of a learning curve in the beginning of this process. But in the end, everything went very smoothly and the installation procedures were completed quickly.”

In the Town of Batavia, the streetlights were converted at a cost of $9 per month over a 10- year period. An incentive that the town received from New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) was built into the streetlighting program that translates to energy savings over time.

LEDs have no filament, produce less heat, and should require less maintenance over time. They require no warmup period to reach full brightness and make it easier for motorists and pedestrians to recognize objects.

“Visually, LEDs produce a distinctly whiter, brighter light compared to the yellow hue cast by traditional high-pressure sodium lights,” said National Grid regional manager Ken Kujawa.

“When working with us, municipalities often consider this difference when specifying which lights to convert, particularly in situations where LED and high-pressure sodium streetlights may be on the same street or in close proximity.”

For LED conversion, NYSERDA offers grant incentives to local governments through its Clean Energy Communities program. More information is available at www.nyserda.ny.gov.

National Grid encourages customers considering LED streetlight conversion to seek additional information from knowledgeable lighting professionals in order to make fully informed decisions. 

townledlightsjuly2017-2.jpg

July 24, 2017 - 2:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, Richmond Avenue, news.

Press release:

Richmond Avenue will be closed to traffic at approximately 8am on Tuesday July 25th, between Bogue Avenue and Redfield Parkway, while a water main is repaired in that area.

Residents may experience discolored water or low water pressure in the immediate area until repairs are completed. Residents should ensure that water clarity has returned to normal before using laundry facilities.

July 15, 2017 - 8:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department is on location of a water main break in front of 129 Walnut St. The water has been turned off on Walnut Street from the railroad tracks to the City line, and also on Law Street. We appreciate your understanding while this repair is made. City crews will make every attempt to restore water as soon as possible.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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