Empty desks save Bethlehem $1M

Leaving 17 jobs unfilled will likely shrink budget gap

Beyond attrition, a mild winter, stronger sales tax receipts and the payment of some federal and state aid for Hurricane Irene repairs have made the fiscal outlook a bit rosier.

Also on Wednesday, the Town Board approved borrowing about $3.2 million to make infrastructure improvements.

The town will spend $1.5 million to replace several pump stations and lay the groundwork for building 10 more. The town has 36 pump stations, and Assistant Engineer Monika King testified many are in bad shape.

“We have approximately 21 pump stations that are at the end of their design life, or near the end of their design life,” she said.

A $1.7 million project will involve replacing a transmission main from the New Salem Water Treatment Plant. Not only is the existing pipe more than 50 years old, putting in a new main will allow the town to add chlorine to water after it leaves the plant, instead of before.

That is important because new federal water quality regulations focus in part on how long chlorine is in contact with water before it reaches customers. Changing the chlorination point would be the most cost effective way to bring the town into compliance, engineers said.

“We have to comply with the drinking water standards,” Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe said. “Ultimately, prolonged noncompliance would see us doing this under a consent order.”

The Town Board voted unanimously on all resolutions related to the two projects.

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