The City of Amsterdam in New York’s Mohawk Valley is seeking emergency funding to repair a broken water line.
The recent cold snap has not been friendly to water lines.
A two-inch line along Market Street in Amsterdam failed during the frigid weather earlier this month, impacting three businesses.
Water was re-routed through another line, so the businesses are now getting water. And Mayor Mike Villa says repairs are on the way.
“The location work is being done and we’re hopeful to begin actual repair work on the pipe on Monday,” said Villa.
The city is looking for $60,000 from the state to make the repairs. Villa says without the emergency funding, cities like Amsterdam, which are already strapped for cash, would be in a much tougher position.
“So we prepared the best that we can, but when the unexpected occurs, thankfully there is funding out there that allows US? to pursue funds that don’t directly affect our budget immediately,” said Villa.
In last year’s state budget, a $10 million fund was created to address emergency infrastructure needs. The $60,000 needed to repair Amsterdam’s water line would come out of that fund, says Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
“It would be hard for the city to make this repair without that funding so I’m advocating that we include that again in this year’s state budget. And I’m also talking about last year what happened in Amsterdam, the sewer repairs that we had to make,” said Santabarbara.
In 2016 and into 2017, the city along the Mohawk River was plagued by infrastructure failures as gallons of untreated sewage leaked.
Amsterdam in 2016 borrowed more than $5 million, a portion of which was a state grant, for the most vulnerable parts of the its water system. Last year, the city secured $3.9 million to make upgrades to its water and sewer system.
But the need for infrastructure improvements in Amsterdam and across New York is still there. And changes at the federal level, combined with a more than $4 billion state budget deficit, could make dollars scarcer.
Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the tough times during his budget address earlier this month.
“In many ways, this is going to be the most challenging budget that we’ve had to do. It intertwines a number of economic and policy and legal issues that makes the situation complicated,” said Cuomo.
In 2017, the Cuomo administration began a plan to invest $100 billion in infrastructure. Last year, the Clean Water Infrastructure Act committed $2.5 billion to drinking water infrastructure over five years through local construction projects. The program is included in the governor’s budget.
Santabarbara is advocating for another emergency infrastructure fund in the budget due April 1st.
“Although it’s going to be a difficult budget, we have to remember to put people first. We cannot abandon our communities,” said Santabarbara.