Road repairs put hole in DPW budget

GLOVERSVILLE – The city Department of Public Works had to patch a hole in its budget from all the road repair work it has done so far this year, a city official said

DPW Director Kevin Jones said while pothole repairs are done annually, costs have risen due to the increase in the amount of work that needs to been done.

The reason for that increase: the harsh winter, Jones said, combined with the age of the city’s infrastructure.

“As of June 1 this year, we have patched more potholes than we have in the previous two years,” Jones said. “We exhausted all of our blacktop money, and I did a budget transfer to move money out of one line item so we can keep buying blacktop.”

Normally, Jones said, the department has $8,000 set aside for blacktop, which costs $60 per ton. The money lasted up to June 1.

To continue the work, Jones said, he moved $20,000 from the department’s fuel budget to help pay for more blacktop, which he expects to last until the end of the year.

The money spent on the work has not slowed down or stopped the crews, however.

“We are continuing to be afoot; we have a crew out every day,” Jones said.

Due to last winter’s severe freezing temperatures and the age of the city’s infrastructure, he said, much more work needs to be done.

In addition to the blacktop, there are plenty of manholes and catch basins in the city that need work too.

“We have more work to do this year than we will probably be able to get done,” he said.

Jones said the department usually buys 12 manhole covers a year to cover any potential work. This year, the 12 covers were used by April. More have been ordered, but Jones said half of those will be used immediately.

However, the DPW is prioritizing street repairs, leaving manhole covers and catch basins for later.

Jones said there also are more sewer pipes that require replacement or repairs. Normally, one to three pipes need to be dug up a year. As of Tuesday, the department is working on its sixth line, with another three scheduled.

“If a pipe gave you 100 years of service, you can’t yell at the pipe,” he said.

With the amount of time remaining, Jones said he cannot see his department completing all their work by the first snowfall.

“We are going to have to stay within our budget; it becomes a function of what gets done, what gets paid for and what doesn’t,” Jones said.

An exact cost for all the repairs would be hard to determine, Jones said, but a figure could be established by November.

“We are basically three times worse off this year than we have been in previous years,” Jones said.