In 2011, the Village Board began an ambitious road rebuilding program. We are five years into the effort and are nearing the end of the rebuild stage, and will settle into maintaining a road system in good condition.
When I came into office in 2010, the Village was in trouble financially, and its roads were suffering. Due to lack of funds and without the ability to bond for long term debt, the Village did not have the capacity to conduct any major road maintenance work and had deferred much needed maintenance. Our roads were deteriorating.
Within the first year we had hired a Village Administrator and cleaned up our management, which enabled us to get a bond rating, which then allowed us to extend our debt from 5 to 20 years and reduce our debt service almost in half. We were then able to bond over a million dollars to implement the Main Street improvements along with N. Franklin and several other streets in desperate need for repair.
Since that time, we have done major road work every year except 2013. We have repaved one third of our roads, 5 out of the 15 miles. This year we will be repaving another 10% of the roads, including the entire stretch of Midland Ave. Repaving 10% of the road system is the best practice for long term maintenance.
Next year we will implement the Broadway improvements (and S. Franklin) with the help of a $1.5 million NYSERDA grant. We will pay for $500,000 of the $2 million project that will bring huge improvements to the road and sidewalks.
We have also developed a capital plan that has analyzed our road network, using a system we were trained on at the Cornell Local Roads Program, and determined a maintenance plan for each road segment. The road maintenance will be more than just repaving, by including preventive work while the roads are in decent condition. This year, we will be “crack sealing” about 4.5 miles (about 1/3) of our roads, which will extend their life and dramatically reduce the long term repair cost. In 2016 alone we will either repave or repair over 40% of our roads.
By every measure our road network is improving each year. Our Village Board has been committed to improving our infrastructure and properly maintaining it. We do not want to let our roads slip into poor condition again, because it is significantly more expensive to repair roads once they deteriorate to the point of needing a full mill and pave.
This has been a large effort that doesn’t get fixed in one year, and can only be done if we keep our sound financial and management practices.