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Bethlehem assembles list of capital projects

$146 million of work over next 10 years outlined in status report

A committee consisting of town leadership has issued an update on its work to draft a capital improvement plan for Bethlehem that plots $146 million worth of work over the next 10 years, but the real task of prioritizing and paying for these projects still lies ahead.

The 100-page report issued by the Capital Planning Committee includes an inventory of the roughly $1 billion of town resources, including vehicles, buildings and sewer and water lines. The bulk of the report consists of a breakdown of recommended capital improvements to be made over the next decade in each of the four town funds: general, highway, water and sewer.

The recommendations include about $5.9 million of capital improvements already in the 2010 budget. At a Dec. 23 meeting of the Town Board, Deputy Department of Public Works Commissioner Erik Deyoe emphasized that this list has not been prioritized or committed toit is essentially a wish list that will have to be pared down.

I think we're going to have to make some hard decisions about which programs and efforts are essential as opposed to discretionary," Deyoe said.

DWP Commissioner Josh Cansler said the committee's next goal would be to prioritize the list and give firmer cost estimates to the projects.

"I would like to have the whole capital plan in place by the time we do the next budget cycle next summer," he said.

Many of the recommendations are improvements to the town's water and sewer infrastructure, including $24.5 million to replace the New Salem Water Treatment Plant by 2012 and $7 million for upgrades to the Clapper Road Water Treatment Plant. $12.3 million for work on sewer pumps stations and $15.4 million for sewer main replacements are also stretched out over a 10-year period.

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