In a last-minute addition to the agenda of the Monday, Oct. 2, Malta town board meeting, members unanimously passed a resolution that states the town's intention to sponsor the construction of the public roads within the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
While local sponsorship of the construction could have come from the county or the state, Supervisor Paul Sausville said the town was asked by state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, to assume sponsorship for the 5.5 miles of roadways on the technology campus. Under the sponsorship agreement, there will be no cost to the town for the construction of the roadways, but the town will be responsible for the administrative components of building them.
"This commits us to a path forward to assume responsibility of these roads," said Sausville. "It is the first step to taking ownership of the roads."
Sausville's comment is the first public statement made by Malta town officials indicating their intention to eventually take ownership of those roads. Ownership will require the town to not only provide general maintenance but resurfacing, reconstruction and improvements when necessary, as well as snow removal. These responsibilities would fall under the purview of the town's highway department. The town currently does not have a town highway tax and Sausville said that will remain the same.
"We are working with the senator's office to create an institution so that we can facilitate furtherance of those roads," said Sausville.
He said that while several funding options are being reviewed by Bruno's office as well as the town attorney, one strong possibility would be the creation of a special district "whereby users of those roads can pay for the maintenance."
Ownership of the roadways does not have to be determined until they have been completed, and town board members said the construction of those roadways will likely not be completed for the next two to three years, at which time they expect an agreement with owners and/or tenants in the Luther Forest Technology Campus to be in place requiring them to cover the costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the roads.