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Schenectady County capital projects proceed

Legislature approves bonding $2.8M for infrastructure updates

— Schenectady County legislators approved on Tuesday, Jan. 8, bonding for various capital projects totaling almost $4.2 million, with the state funding approximately $1.4 million of the work.

The projects were already approved in the county’s 2013 Capital Budget, but the legislature had to authorize the issuance of bonds totaling almost $2.8 million to fund the expenditures. The most expensive project is in $1.7 million bonded for highway improvements, which includes constructing, reconstructing, paving and resurfacing county highways. County officials expect to be reimbursed around $1.4 million for the highway expenses.

“It is not the full amount for what the capital budget actually is, because we only bond when we actually need the money for the projects,” county spokesman Joe McQueen said.

Seven other projects account for the remaining bonded expenses, which roughly total $1.1 million and aren’t targeted for state reimbursement.

The Public Works Department will be receiving a new telescopic boom hydraulic excavator for $400,000 that has an expected lifespan of 15 years. The county is also purchasing two sets of two high-rise heavy-duty truck mobile column lifts for $47,000.

Compost facility equipment purchases total $150,000, which accounts for a front-end loader. Information services and equipment purchases total $281,000, which includes hardware and software upgrades and replacing the phone systems at the airport, Board of Elections and Emergency Management Office. The county airport was also targeted for $40,000 in various improvements, including safety upgrades at the control tower.

The Schenectady County Court will have its roof reconstructed at an estimated cost of $150,000.

County Legislator Phillip Fields said the county chose to borrow for the projects over the next 20 years instead of paying the cash up front.

In other news, the county asked the state to reauthorize it to charge an extra 0.5 percent sales tax, which helps fund Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority. At the end of each year, the county must ask the state to reapprove the tax, which Majority Leader Gary Hughes said more than half of the state’s counties impose.

Republican Legislator James Buhrmaster was the only lawmaker to vote against the resolution, which he has previously contested.

Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, and Holly Vellano, C-Rotterdam, were absent from the meeting.

Democratic legislators have yet to decide who will be appointed to the vacant seat in District 4, which covers the Towns of Duanesburg, Princetown, and Rotterdam. The seat was formerly held by Angelo Santabarbara, who was elected to serve the 111th Assembly District.

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