Mandates strike again

Leave it to the state to saddle localities with another unfunded mandate.

Every year, local municipalities receive money from the state to do roadwork. The funds come through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones recently told the Common Council the state has transferred the responsibility of administering the CHIPs funding to the state Comptroller’s Office, which has added new guidelines and regulations.

While the city received an additional $35,000 in CHIPS funding this year – it scored about $360,000 last year – it also got a new mandate to cope with.

“Basically, [the state Comptroller’s Office has] told us that any resurfacing project we do, which alters the highway, we must abide with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and every street corner we go by, the sidewalks would need to be modified to meet the current ADA requirements,” he said.

Jones said as a result, the city would need to alter the four sidewalks and curbing at every intersection to make them handicapped- accessible, which ultimately would cut the number of streets it could repair in half.

Last year, the city was able to pave 14 streets with the funds. But it probably will not be able to do that many this year.

“They have essentially given us an extra $35,000 with $100,000 in additional requirements to go with it,” Jones said. “Our street program, instead of 14 [streets], would be five.”

As this newspaper has noted many times, unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments can really add up.

We understand the intent of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but a city the size of Gloversville, with the strained finances it has, can’t afford such an expense. The result of this new mandate will be fewer roads getting fixed.

The state and federal governments should pony up the money for making the sidewalks ADA-compliant.