Troy is laying the foundation to implement a new water pipeline project connecting the Tomhannock Reservoir in Pittstown to the city water treatment plant.
Plans call for installation of a 6.5-mile, 36-inch transmission line to replace two more than 100-year-old lines currently in service. Last Thursday, the city council’s finance committee passed a resolution authorizing the Collar City to issue $40 million in bonds. (The resolution requires final approval by the full council during their next general meeting in September.)
Monica Kurzejeski is Deputy Mayor of Troy. "You know we wanna make sure that we're being proactive and looking to do proactive repairs. It is the main transmission line for our water source. We supply water to about 135,000 customers in Troy and nine surrounding communities."
City Council President Carmella Mantello agrees the pipeline is important and "quality drinking water is a must." But the Republican says she needs to know more about the financial impact, water rates and timeline. "I've asked for more information, a financial plan, what this means in terms of future water rates to the city of Troy residents. I was assured that the other communities who tap into our water will be sharing some of the costs, so that's some good news, and more importantly, the city is going to apply for a $10 million grant, which is due September 7th. So, I vote in favor of moving this to the regular meeting which is next week, September 6th, a day before the $10 million grant application is due. I support the project, however more financial information does need to be presented to the council."
Kurzejeski says she thinks most of the questions have been answered. “Before we had the chance to meet at the meeting on Thursday I think there were some concerns and some questions that were swirling around out there, and I think all of those questions were answered through communication with Chris Whelan, our superintendent in the Public Utilities Department, as well as the questions that were able to be answered at the council meeting. That’s was those council meetings are designed for, to provide answers and opportunity for the council members to ask questions.’
Deputy Comptroller Andy Piotrowski says going into bond resolution is a requirement for the grant funding application. "It's still premature in the process to really forecast out principal and interest costs and the impact it would have on the city's water fund because we don't know if the grant's there. You could be looking at up to $10 million in grant funding potentially, which would obviously significantly change your payback costs. So there's a lot of factors that still go into how much it will work out into the future, but having the financing in place increases your opportunity to receive the grant funding."
Mantello is keeping an eye on the calendar. "Just the process of getting this to the council — the governor announced these grants at the end of June, and certainly the administration had that information for months so the communication between the mayor and the council must get better, more fluid and more transparent, but the project itself, it's an important one, as I said our water is our precious commodity, and certainly quality drinking water and safe drinking water is a must for troy residents and for the customers in other communities."
Troy started paying more attention to its water system in January 2016 when a more than century-old water line under the streets burst, flooding Lansingburgh and affecting customers throughout Troy and the nine surrounding communities across three counties the city serves.