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airport3_120County Administrator Joe Mareane presented the Legislature’s Facilities and Infrastructure Committee the Draft Capital Program for 2015-2019.   Both the Administrator and several legislators agreed it was beneficial to present the draft for initial review now, in advance of the 2015 budget process, when the program will be reviewed, and perhaps refined, before adoption along with the 2015 County Budget. 

Part of the County’s 20-Year Capital Plan, the draft Capital Program includes $51.2 million in total spending over the next five years, with $20.8 million in local share, which would be supported through property tax.

Among capital projects included the draft five-year program:
  • At the Airport, Runway overlay design and construction, at a cost of $4.4 million, underwritten through federal and state revenue and $240,000 in Airport funds;
  • $600,000 replacement of the 9-1-1 telephone system, which could be mostly grant-funded;
  • A $2.4 million multi-year program to address capital maintenance of County buildings--$800,000 per year in three-year cycles;
  • First-floor renovations to the Mental Health Building lobby that would improve building security and operating efficiency, and create a more welcoming environment for clients;
  • Restoration of the storm sewer beneath grounds of the Public Works facility ($1 million), stabilization of Brooktondale Road ($450,000) and South Street Slope along Taughannock Creek south of Trumansburg ($750,000); phased reconstruction of Coddington Road, including safety improvements to the Coddington-Burns Road intersection in 2015;
  • Several other highway and bridge projects, including phase two of the Ellis Hollow Road reconstruction project ($3.24 million), with anticipated contributions from Cornell, as well as state and federal aid; annual allocations for capital improvements of roads and bridges ($1.2 million per year for 2015-2018, and $1.8 million beginning in 2019.
  • Multi-year aquifer study program, leveraging federal funds with County cash support;
  • Capital maintenance program for Recycling and Solid Waste Facilities--$1.59 million, potential 50% support through a NYSDEC Capital grant, the rest through Solid Waste revenues.
Last year, the Legislature decided to raise the tax levy by 0.75% in 2014 and 2015 to support the capital program, then by .5% for that purpose every year beyond.  Administrator Mareane has advised that support at the .5% level for 2015 would generate sufficient support for ongoing capital needs and would achieve the goal of building a capital reserve fund to help address future needs.

At the meeting, Highway Director Jeff Smith also reported that the County received funding as part of more than $75 million received for projects in the State from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program:  $1.4 million for Coddington Road improvements in the Town of Ithaca, to reconstruct intersections and approaches to widen lanes and shoulders, and remove roadside obstructions; and $257,000 to enhance pedestrian safety at two intersections on Pine Tree Road—in the East Hill Plaza area and at Ellis Hollow Road.

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