County will borrow $8M to tackle range of projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 October 2014 at 12:00 am

6 new bridges tops the infrastructure list

Photo by Tom Rivers – Orleans County officials want to see fewer road closed signs in the county. This sign is out while the Village of Medina rebuilds a section of Horan Road.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature approved an $8 million bond today so the county can get to work on replacing bridges, culverts, roofs and other infrastructure work.

The bond will provide $4,963,000 to replace six bridges from 2015 to 2017. The county is moving forward with the projects after getting little state and federal dollars for bridges. Another state and federal funding cycle doesn’t come up until 2017.

If the county waits until they to again seek funding, some of the bridges may be closed. The bridge funds tend to go to projects with high-volume counts, making it unlikely the rural county could rely on state and federal money for its infrastructure needs.

“Failure to act on our part will result in further deterioration of our infrastructure assets and unnecessary closures of county-owned roads and bridges,” said Legislature Chairman David Callard.

The county has identified six bridges for replacement, starting with two in 2015: a bridge from 1934 over Beardsley Creek on Waterport-Carlton Road in Carlton, and a bridge from 1968 in Barre over Manning Muckland Creek on Oak Orchard Road.

Other bridges to follow include one from 1959 in Kendall on Carton Road over Sandy Creek, a bridge from 1936 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on East Scott Road, one from 1928 in Ridgeway over Fish Creek on Culvert Road, and a bridge from 1956 in Kendall over Sandy Creek on Norway Road.

Callard said that plan could be altered if a different bridge is “red flagged” by the state and closed.

The county also plans to replace six culverts for $1,500,000. Those culverts are identified as two on Knowlesville Road in Ridgeway, two on Platten Road in Yates, and two on South Holley Road in Clarendon.

The infrastructure investment plan also includes $1,540,000 in work at county buildings, including two new pole barns. Those 60-by-150 foot barns are estimated to cost $230,000 each. One would be used by the highway department and the other by emergency management.

The county also wants to replace the roofs on the County Administration Building and the Public Safety Building, with each at an estimated $510,000.

The remaining project includes a generator for the mental health building for $60,000. That generator will service a new hub for county information technology infrastructure, Callard said.

The bond is expected to cost the county a little over $400,000 annually for the next 20 years. The borrowing terms will be worked out in the coming months. Interest rates have been at about 2 percent, noted Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer.

“That’s another factor: the money is so cheap right now,” he said.

The county doesn’t anticipate higher taxes because of the bond because it will be done paying off the debt for the Public Safety Building’s original construction next year, the final $160,000 payment. The county also is to receive $268,000 annually as part of a state gambling compact. The first partial payment arrived this year.

The gambling funds and the relief from the Public Safety Building debt should cover the new borrowing costs for the projects, making the work cost neutral on the county budget, Nesbitt said.