Amherst town council approves $2.8-million capital budget

A combined water and general capital budget of slightly more than $2.8 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year was approved by Amherst town council during a special session held on Feb. 4, 2020.

“We believe these capital projects are required in order to maintain our infrastructure and continue to provide the many services we do for the citizens of Amherst,” Mayor David Kogon said.

The town’s water department has budgeted $713,000 for three projects: replacing a water main on Albion Street, between Croft and Queen streets, purchasing a generator for the wellfield and a new service truck.

The general capital budget was set at just over $2.1 million. It includes $110,000 to purchase an asphalt hot-patcher and a new one-tonne 4x4 service truck for the Operations Department. The 4x4 will replace a one-tonne service truck that has served the town since 2011 and the hot-patcher will replace the existing one. Both pieces of equipment have reached the end of their life.

It also includes $511,951 for the installation of solar panels on the firehall and police station, improvements to security at various town buildings, upgrading the council chambers in town hall to ensure all people can access it and replacing worn out computer servers at the police department and town hall.

An amount of $250,000 has been budgeted to pulverize and repave Albion Street, between Croft and Queen streets. Another $663,000 has been set aside to pave several streets.

The streets to be paved include:

  • Albion Street, between Croft and Queen streets
  • Academy Street, between Queen and Spring streets
  • West Pleasant Street, under the subway
  • Clifton and Edgewood streets
  • Chamberlain Street, from the CNR tracks to Newton Street
  • Tupper Boulevard, from the northern town boundary to the TIR office driveway
  • Flemming Street, Senator Avenue, Smith Street, Mission Street, Centennial Court and Townsview Court
  • Clifford Street, between Rupert and Clarence streets
  • Agnew Street, between Rupert and Clarence streets
  • Acadia Street, between Agnew and Prince Arthur streets.

A budget of $60,000 has been set for the construction of a new sanitary sewer on the Willow Street Trail, east to Abbey Road, and the replacement of a corrugated storm sewer on Academy Street, between Spring and Queen streets.

The town has budgeted $170,000 to build or improve several sidewalks. The sidewalk projects include:

  • Academy Street, between Spring and Queen Streets
  • Dickey Brook Trail, from Donald Avenue to Charles Street (gravel trail)
  • Upper Church Street, from Robert Angus Drive to the town boundary
  • Willow Street Trail, east of Abbey Road (gravel trail)
  • Hickman Street, between West Pleasant and Park streets.

A budget of $92,000 has been approved in order to replace six to nine sets of bunker gear and eight self-contained breathing apparatus for the fire department, while another $73,000 was budgeted for a new vehicle, ballistic helmets and in-camera car video recorders for the police department.

The town has budgeted $221,000 in capital expenditures for the Recreation Department, including the purchase of the outdoor rink site, self-watering flower baskets, resurfacing the Church Street tennis courts and purchasing an electric SUV and charging station. (This vehicle replaces a service vehicle that has reached the end of its life.) The figure also includes replacing the bridge in Christie Park, additional decorative lighting, repairs to the ice compressor and installing a sprinkler system back-flow preventor at the Amherst Stadium, building a batting cage at the Robb Centennial Complex and protective fencing in front of the dugouts at the Robb complex.

More than $2.2 million of these capital expenditures for the water and general capital budgets, including all the water capital projects, the solar panels, the street paving, storm and sanitary sewer projects and all sidewalk projects, were approved in January in order to ensure they were completed in a timely fashion. It is also anticipated the early procurement of those projects would result in savings for the town.

Funding for these capital projects will come from long-term borrowing, the gas tax and the town’s operating budgets.