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September 19, 2018 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county highway, tim hens, news, notify, infrastructure.

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During the Public Service Committee meeting Tuesday, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens updated members of the County Legislature on the work of his department.

On funding, the proposed county road budget for 2019 is $5,527,130. Asphalt prices have increased 20 percent in 2018. Salt prices are up 16 percent. Gas prices have gone from $2 a gallon to $2.35 and climbing, though prices should stabilize in 2019, Hens said. The department has 57 employees (54.25 full-time equivalents), working in administration, highway, parks, airport, fleet, and facility maintenance.     

Besides a share of the general fund, the department receives grants for projects. State aid in 2018 has been $1.6 million, plus $382,193 from the PAVE-NY fund, $240,498 for extreme weather recovery.

Federal aid, Hens said, is still limited.

The county, including applications from towns, has 31 applications made to BRIDGE-NY, with an announcement for funding expected in the fall. 

Hens anticipates needing $2,131,466 for roach machinery in 2019. The department is making lease payments on a dozer, loader, an excavator, and needs a wheel loader, pickup, 2.5-ton truck, and mid-sized track excavator.

The county is responsible for 260 miles of highway. There are 92 bridges longer than 20 feet and 278 bridges and culverts longer than five feet and less than 20 feet. 

"We need to replace two bridges a year to keep our heads above water and we have been doing one bridge a year based on available federal funding," Hens said. 

The rating for the Lyons Street Bridge has been reduced from eight tons to seven. Pratt Road Bridge has been reduced from 19 tons to seven and is scheduled for replacement next year.

Reconstruction of the Stroh Road Bridge is nearly complete and it should open Oct. 1, three weeks ahead of schedule. 

Four culverts in the county of less than 20-foot span were replaced this summer.

The county also completed paving or overlay projects on Indian Falls Road, North Lake Road, North Byron Road, Prole Road Extension, South Street in Pavilion, Colby Road, Hickox, Walker, and Gillate roads in Alexander. 

These projects often included shoulder widening to 30 feet.

The widening has gone over well with residents in those areas, Hens said, who now have more room for walking and biking.

Much of the material used for this work is recycled asphalt from the work at the County Airport to replace the runway and taxiways. This has produced more than 16,000 tons of asphalt for the county to process and reuse.

"It's cheap material," Hens said. "But it's not free. We still have to process it and handle it."

As for county parks, Hens praised the work of Shannon Lyaski, conservation education program coordinator, and Paul Osborn, parks director.

"We've seen year-over-year growth in the environmental programs," Hens said. "We've hit record numbers for revenue and people attending events at the County Park." 

He said Lyaski has done a good job with programming for events at the Interpretive Nature Center.

The revenue generated by these programs cover her salary, Hens said.

As for Osborn, Hens said he's a master at rounding up volunteer workers and scavenging for material for structures in the parks.

"He flips over rocks and pulls people out and he's got people down there cleaning, cutting and trimming," Hens said.

One of the annual programs at the County Park is Camp Hard Hat, which brings in high school students in to build a project under the supervision of a BOCES instructor.

This year, the crew built a footbridge using guardrails Osborn scavenged from the old Stroh Road Bridge.

Attendance has also been up at the DeWitt Recreation Area.

Hens said work on a bridge through the wetlands in the park for the Ellicott Trail should be completed by fall. The county is waiting on the Town of Batavia to finish its part of the trail and Hens is hopeful the trail will open next spring.

For facilities, significant projects in 2018 include a new jail elevator, a security system, new fire alarm for the County Courthouse, and completion of an energy performance contract. For 2019, the county is waiting on a grant for the stonework on the facade of the jail building and a grant is pending for energy upgrades at the Animal Shelter.

In the 20 years since Hens became highway superintendent, the County has invested $30 million in capital improvements, which includes new hangars, a new terminal, and a new runway and taxiways. The funds were all generated by grants or fees for use of the airport and fuel so there have been no direct costs to local taxpayers.

There are 21 jobs at the airport, including private employers, and generates $2.35 million in economic impact.

The airport has brought in more money than it cost in 16 of the past 17 years. Hens anticipates the airport will only break even in 2018 due to a prolonged winter and construction projects.

Pete Zeliff is building a new hangar for corporate jets, which should help generate more revenue for the county through additional fuel sales.

Hens has also been heavily involved in public water projects with several new projects starting this year and more planned for 2019.

PHOTO: Tim Hens in the foreground and Laura Wadhams, the county's new assistant engineer, who started her job a little over a week ago.

August 31, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany Center Road Bridge, Bethany, infrastructure, news, notify.

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A dispatcher just notified the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department that the Bethany Center Bridge has reopened.

The old bridge was built in the 1930s and in recent years had eroded into a crumbling, rusting eyesore. It was replaced this summer with a new $1.4 million span by the Department of Transportation.

Photo: From Aug. 17, when a construction foreman told The Batavian work would be completed by the first week of September.

August 23, 2018 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, water district #5, news, infrastructure, Announcements.

There will be a public informational meeting for the proposed Bethany Water District #5 on Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Bethany Town Hall. This is to discuss the $14.5 million water project for most of Bethany.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Bethany Town Hall is located at 10510 Bethany Center Road in Bethany.

August 17, 2018 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Bethany, Bethany Center Road Bridge, infrastructure.

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These are pictures from this morning of the ongoing work on the new Bethany Center Road Bridge over Route 20 in Bethany.

A foreman said the work is on schedule and they expect the bridge to be ready for traffic the first week of September.

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July 16, 2018 - 5:32pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in corfu, news, water, infrastructure.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell and Legislator Gordon Dibble have responded to the public hearing held July 9 by the Village of Corfu to address the county’s proposal to double the charge for municipal water.

Corfu officials had hoped someone from the county would attend the hearing to address residents’ concerns about the proposed increase.

However, no county representative was present at the meeting because they were not notified until the day before, Gsell said in an e-mail to The Batavian.

Apparently, Corfu Trustee Al Graham contacted Dibble about 1 p.m. Sunday to inquire if he had received any notice of Monday’s hearing. Dibble replied that he had not.

“It was too late at that point because we want to get all the people there who have the right answers,” Dibble said in a phone call today.

Gsell said they last met with the Village of Corfu officials in June and agreed to come to another village meeting with appropriate notice.

Currently, the county and village of Corfu are trying to agree on a date when all parties can attend.

Gsell has also shared a letter sent to Genesee County’s attorney by Corfu attorneys David Saleh and John Whiting with the Whiting Law Firm after the June meeting. The letter, dated July 5, which was also forwarded to MCWA, says claims were made by Corfu that the county and MCWA were ignoring the village in regard to municipal water, although Corfu has been a retail customer of the MCWA since 2001.

The MCWA told Corfu Mayor Joe Johnson the letter had been forwarded to them and it contained statements that the Village of Corfu had concerns with the services provided by MCWA’s operation and maintenance of the water system.

Several statements made by Corfu in the letter indicate the existing water system that provides water to thousands of county residents, including the residents of the village, is facing many challenges, including a crisis in maintenance of the existing water lines and other facilities.

The village wrote that the water lines running through the village are nearly 100 years old and needed attention even when these agreements were signed nearly 22 years ago.

“It was expected that efforts would be made to replace existing lines that have been subject to compromising breaks on a regular basis. In that near 20-year period, the existing lines haven’t been properly addressed and the problem is only worse,” the letter said.

Finally, the village wrote, “The Water Authority is struggling with maintenance, and the county needs to get involved to help find a solution.”

The MCWA’s Executive Director Nicholas Noce responded that this secondhand notice was the first they had heard about the Village of Corfu’s concerns.

Noce said the Village of Corfu water system was functional at the time the Water Authority and the village entered into an agreement.

He also said MCWA disagrees with the statements about struggling with maintenance and not properly addressing the system.

“This should be recognized by the nearly $2 million invested in the portion of the county’s water system in the Village of Corfu,” Noce said.

He said while there have been water main breaks in the village, those mains do not rank high enough for replacement at this time.

“Typically, age is not a criteria for water main replacement,” Noce said. “Water mains can break for several reasons, such as shifting of the ground during freeze-thaw cycles, pressure changes, casting flaws with material, or from corrosion.”

Noce said the Water Authority has a long-standing main rehabilitation program that has proven to be very effective. When compared to other water utilities across the nation through the benchmarking studies prepared by the American Water Works Association, the MCWA ranks in the national top quartile for the least number of water main breaks per 100 miles of water main.

Noce also said his organization would gladly come out to Corfu or have further discussions with the village to answer any questions about their programs. He said they have no record of receiving any direct contacts from Corfu with the above concerns.

He also reiterated the fact that since the Water Authority and the Village of Corfu entered into the retail lease agreement, the Water Authority has invested $1.95 million into the portion of the Water Authority’s system which is within the village. That investment, Noce said, paid to replace or clean and cement mortar line on approximately 48 percent of the water mains in the village; replace 70 percent of the hydrants; it rehabilitated the water storage tank; and replaced the roof on the water treatment plant (to name a few).

“If the village stayed in the water business, the village water system would have had to fund the $1.95 million of improvement and spread that cost over just 285 water customers in the village,” Noce said.

June 27, 2018 - 9:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in transportation, infrastructure, steve hawley, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that millions in transportation upgrades have been awarded to the 139th Assembly District. Funding will improve operating assistance, transit buses, facilities and services in Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties.

This includes funds to replace three transit buses and one bus shelter in Genesee County, improve operating functionality in Monroe County and the purchase of a new bus facility in Orleans County.

“Our local public transportation system is crucial to maintaining a strong and bustling community for all walks of life,” Hawley said. “With all the difficulties of traffic, parking and expenses of commuting for oneself, public transportation is extremely important to many residents of Western New York.

"Thousands of people rely on our buses to travel to work, go shopping and travel around the district, and many school age and college students need reliable transportation to and from campus. I am pleased to announce that this funding will be injected into our local transportation system and look forward to a more seamless commute for our residents.”

June 4, 2018 - 7:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, infrastructure, news.

A water main break is reported in Corfu at East Main Street and Thompson Drive.

A responder on scene reports there's water coming up on both sides of the road.

UPDATE: Corfu Chief Brian Schollard says Route 33 is open through the village but houses on both sides of the street, from 56 to 78 are without water for the night. Work crews are on scene repairing the break. Two hydrants are also out of service between Lawrence and Thompson. Repairs are expected to be completed by the morning sometime.

May 22, 2018 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, business, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

Empire Access, a leading telecommunications service provider based in the Finger Lakes region of New York, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Axcess Ontario.

Through this acquisition, Empire Access adds over 200 miles of fiber optic network to its existing multi-county network infrastructure. Empire plans to accelerate its expansion of fiber optic service in Ontario County with this newly acquired network.

“We’re excited to announce that we have finalized the acquisition of the Axcess Ontario network,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “This allows us to offer our industry-leading Fiber Optic Gigabit Internet, phone and security to homes and businesses throughout Ontario County.”

The Axcess Ontario fiber ring is a 200-plus-mile open-access fiber-optic network in Ontario County in Upstate New York. Since 2005, Axcess Ontario has built and maintained a robust open-access fiber-optic network infrastructure within Ontario County.

The open-access network provides advanced connectivity for telecommunications. The Axcess Ontario fiber ring has been recognized as a national broadband model and is the epitome of 21st-century public infrastructure.

"Empire Access is a family-owned and operated company, and our goal is to continue Axcess Ontario’s original mission of providing cutting-edge communications services to the local communities,” Baase said.

Empire Access currently offers residential and business fiber optic services in Ontario County's Village of Naples, along with a wide array of fiber optic business services in the cities of Canandaigua and Geneva, the Village of Victor, and Honeoye.

The company will expand residential and business service to surrounding communities in the upcoming months and offer fiber optic high-speed Internet, phone and security solutions to residential and business customers within Ontario County.

May 15, 2018 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that a record level of state funding will continue to help local governments rehabilitate area highways, roads and bridges.

“Western New York will be getting its fair share of state transportation dollars again this year," Ranzenhofer said. "With winter finally over, local highway crews will start to put these dollars to work by fixing our infrastructure.

"This state funding will help to provide safe and reliable transportation for motorists and their families,” 

A total of $603 million in statewide funding will help municipalities with infrastructure improvement projects. The 2018-19 New York State Budget allocates $438 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement program (CHIPS), $100 million for the Pave NY program and $65 million for the Extreme Winter Recovery program.

Genesee County

Municipality

2018-19 Budget ($)

City of Batavia

426,205

Town of Alabama

121,831

Town of Alexander

126,163

Town of Batavia

146,171

Town of Bergen

69,838

Town of Bethany

110,065

Town of Byron

136,777

Town of Darien

149,398

Town of Elba

108,980

Town of LeRoy

141,781

Town of Oakfield

71,370

Town of Pavilion

146,205

Town of Pembroke

135,045

Town of Stafford

134,751

Village of Alexander

12,491

Village of Bergen

27,404

Village of Corfu

18,936

Village of Elba

12,436

Village of Le Roy

105,209

Village of Oakfield

39,559

County of Genesee

2,295,315

May 1, 2018 - 2:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, infrastructure, news, Le Roy, bergen.
Press release:
 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced new funding to repair and resurface two critical roadways which were damaged by extreme weather conditions this winter.

“Reliable infrastructure is so important; it’s worth the investment,” Hawley said. “Bus drivers transporting our kids to school, hardworking parents commuting to work and seniors getting to appointments deserve to travel on safe, sound roads. Revitalizing our infrastructure is an investment in public safety, in economic development and in a stronger middle class.”

Hawley secured $1 million to resurface Route 31 in the Village of Albion in Orleans County. He delivered another $1 million to resurface Route 19 from Randall Road to Route 33 in (Le Roy and Bergen) Genesee County.

In recent years, Hawley has worked with his colleagues to secure a 40-percent increase in state aid for local infrastructure projects.

“We still have tremendous unmet infrastructure needs at the local level, and our message has been that the state needs to step in and really invest in this," Hawley said. "That’s why I’m so pleased to deliver this funding, and why I’m going to continue to be a tireless advocate for providing New Yorkers with 21st century infrastructure.”

April 27, 2018 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Liberty Street, infrastructure, batavia, news.

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Work crews are getting busy with infrastructure projects in Batavia, starting with a new sidewalk on Liberty Street from East Main Street to Cherry Street.

New sidewalks will also be replaced on Washington Avenue from Ross Street to Bank Street, and on Tracy Avenue from Washington Avenue to North Street.

The sidewalk replacement is part of the state's "Healthy Schools Corridor" project and is funded by 75-percent state and federal grants and 25 percent by the city under the Transportation Alternatives Program.

The width of the sidewalks is increasing to five feet.

Roman Construction, from Tonawanda, won the sidewalk contract with a bid of $721,566.

Other city projects planned this year include milling/paving on South Liberty, Liberty, East Avenue, Vine Street, Swan Street, and Clinton Street, paid for by federal, state, and city funding. The council is expected to award a bid for this contract on at its next business meeting.

City crews will handling paving of Trumbull Parkway, Lehigh Avenue, Eleanor Place and Margaret Place.

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April 17, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, bridges, news, batavia, elba, alexander.

Resolutions to help advance three bridge projects scheduled for this summer were approved by the Public Service Committee of the County Legislature on Monday.

The project fund for replacement of the Searls Road Bridge over Spring Creek was increased by $16,500, with all but $825 of that coming from federal grant funds.

The money is necessary to acquire additional right-of-way on the roads leading up to the bridge.

The bridge will be widened from 22 feet to 30 feet -- the new federal standard -- but most of the additional right-of-way is needed during construction, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said.

Elba Farms has donated the land for the right of way on the west side of the road but the land on the east side is tied up in an estate and there is a Federal income tax lien on the property, so much of that additional $16,000 is going to a consult to help navigate the legal tangles.

The total cost of the Searls Road Bridge is $870,000, funded through federal grants.

The Pratt Road Bridge project over the Tonawanda Creek is also getting a budget bump of $13,300, all but $650 from federal grants, for right-of-way acquisition. Again, a consultant is needed to assist with the process. The total cost of the project is $2.082 million.

Three resolutions were passed in support of the project replacing the Stroh Road Bridge. Two of them accept a state grant of $100,000 in support of "multimodal" transportation (which means car, pedestrian, bike). The third resolution awards a $1.423 million construction contract to L.C. Whitford Co. Inc., of Wellsville.

The project is a complete replacement, including the stacked-stone abutments, put there in 1910.

April 12, 2018 - 7:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany Center Road Bridge, infrastructure, news, notify, Bethany.

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After years of crumbling, the Bethany Center Road Bridge over Route 20 has finally come tumbling down.

Demolition crews brought the 86-year-old concrete span down today as part of a $1.4 million DOT project to replace the long-dilapidated bridge.

Previously: 

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March 27, 2018 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Redfield Parkway, Bogue Avenue, batavia, infrastructure, news, notify.

During heavy rainstorms, the sewer pump station that serves the Bogue Avenue and Redfield Parkway area of Batavia can back up and reach the point of potential failure, according to City officials, so last week, about 100 area residents received letters asking them to meet with the City about their sump pumps.

Under City code, sump pumps are not supposed to pump water into the sanitary sewer system and reducing those connections could help avoid a problem at the pump station in the Redfield Parkway area.

"About 100 houses got the letter and even if only half of them had sump pumps (connected to the sanitary system), even if it's only five gallons a minute, that's five gallons times 50 connections, all of the sudden it's 250 or 300 gallons per minute," said Matt Worth, interim city manager. "Add that on top of normal flow downstream to the pump station, it can become overloaded. If there's a mechanical failure, that can cause the system to back up."

And what gets backed up into people's basements, starting with the person who has the lowest basement, is "dirty" water, Worth said.

That's a problem the city would like to avoid.

The letter Redfield and Bogue residents received apparently caused some residents to believe the City was going to force them to disconnect their sump pumps from the sewer system and find some other way of getting rid of water that flows into their basements.

Worth said that isn't the case at all.

"We’re trying not to be draconian about it," Worth said. "The request is for people to call, make an appointment, we’ll come, and have those discussions. We’re trying to offer as low-cost solutions as possible."

The code that prohibits sump pumps from pumping stormwater into the sanitary system has been on the books since at least 1966, Worth said, and it also provides a "grandfather clause" for homes with sump pumps built prior to enactment of the ordinance.

Two things about the clause: The clause isn't effective if pumping the water into the sewer system is determinant to the system; and, if there is no other solution available, then the resident can continue to pump water into the system.

About a dozen residents from the Redfield area attended Monday's City Council meeting and a few spoke to voice their concerns about the letter.

Don Fryling said he thought the City was just trying to dump its problem off on residents.

"Perhaps the city should update the pump station instead of pushing the problem back on the residents," Fryling said.

Jim Owen suggested the City try to secure a grant to pay for a new pump station.

Worth said a new pump station isn't really a solution because the federal and state grants used to help build the wastewater treatment plant prohibit "clean" stormwater from being processed at the plant, so the City can't intentionally take action to ensure stormwater is being mixed in with sewer water.

So far, the City has met with 15 residents and found only four sump had pumps that were pumping water into the sewer system. All four voluntarily agreed to mitigate the condition.

With that information, Council President Eugene Jankowski suggested residents simply talk with the City and figure out what the situation is for themselves.

"To the people who spoke today, I guess, my request to you is meet with Jim (Ficarella) and see if you can help the City and find a mitigation, and if you can’t, then you can’t," Jankowski said. "If you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Some of you can help and assist and there are ways to fix your problem and give the city a break and relieve some of the pressure on that pump station. That will help the rest of your neighbors out as well. Nobody is forcing you to do anything."

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.

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