It will come as no surprise to many residents that only one third of the city has adequate drainage.
This week, the city council unanimously approved a $350,000 loan order for drainage planning and design and $1.5 million for drainage system improvements.
Chief of Infrastructure and Engineering Don Ciarmella explained that the city has 4,500 catch basins which, oddly, are all connected, saying that one clog can affect the whole system. Ciarmella said the money for planning would allow engineers to develop ways to correct that and other problems that cause continual flooding throughout the city.
Chief Financial Officer Richard Viscay urged the council to approve the bonding. He told the councillors the upgrades were included in the city’s capital plan and the improvements are needed. The work will be covered by the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund.
The council also approved a $6 million loan order for water main improvements. Ciarmella said the upgrades were needed to address improvements that were deferred for years. The upgrades will improve service to homeowners and to ensure the fire department would have adequate water in case of a fire. Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo asked Viscay for an estimate of how the improvements would affect rate payers.
“We have to convey clean fresh water to residents, I just want to know what the impact is,” said Rizzo who added the city is spending millions on water and sewer infrastructure because of the consent decree to improve sewers and drainage.
“It’s not a matter of the price tag, it’s a matter of people’s ability to pay,” said Rizzo.
Viscay said he would provide an estimate to how much residents will be billed for the work.
“I think this is absolutely money well spent,” Ciarmella told the council.