Amsterdam

Amsterdam council considers paving program

State's $675,000 in road paving aid could still be cut 20 percent
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AMSTERDAM — The city is developing its list of streets to be repaved this fall, even as the threat of reduced state paving aid continues to hang over the paving budget.

City Engineer Michael Clark told City Council members during a Zoom meeting Wednesday that he’s developing a list of streets to be paved on a budget of around $700,000, while acknowledging the city’s needs are far higher than what it can afford — and that the amount may need to be cut.

“These are the worst of the worst,” he said.

Clark said the state Department of Transportation has told the city will be be receiving $675,000 in money from the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program and some other programs — but the letter also warned that that amount could be cut by 20 percent, down to about $540,000.

The letter is consistent with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s position that state aid to municipalities and schools may be cut by up to 20 percent because of diminished state revenue due to the economic shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cuomo has called for federal aid to close an estimated $14 billion deficit — something the House of Representatives has approved, but which neither the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate or the Trump administration has shown any willingness to fund.

The list of potential paving projects includes the western end of Division Street and a large part of Locust Avenue — two relatively high-traffic connector streets — as well as some residential streets. Clark said he came up with the list after having driven every street in the city in the last week, to assess their condition.

The list does not include the costly reconstruction of Church Street, which is separate: It is scheduled to go to bid this winter, with construction starting in early 2021, Clark said. That project is being paid for with $1.9 million in state legislative grant funding.

Based on this year’s budget constraints, Clark told council members he will come up with a final proposed paving list for the council to consider when it meets on Tuesday. If approved, the list would go out to bid with “add-on” streets, which could be added to the paving list if bid prices are low enough.

The city hires a private paving contractor to do the work, generally taking the lowest responsibile bid.

The timetable calls for bids to be opened in August, with working starting after Labor Day. The cooler weather is early fall is better for allowing fresh pavement to cool and set than hot summer weather, Clark said.

In the only other business at Wednesday’s meeting, the council also appointed Christopher Mancini of Guy Park Avenue to an opening on the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency. Mancini is a general contractor with the Mohawk Mills Real Estate Group.

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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