Archive for March 24th, 2010

“VETO STATEMENT Resolution 09/10-255

The City is facing extremely difficult economic challenges. It is unavoidable that drastic cuts in services, significant increases in taxes, and appropriation of fund balance will be necessary in the general fund.

It is irresponsible to ignore a potential source of revenue in the face of extraordinary financial stress. One such revenue source is the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. The Union College MBA Student Business Plan shows that the golf course is under-producing. The report projected that with proper management and operational restructuring the course should generate $1.3M in revenue. The proposed pricing structure the Council has adopted is projected to produce $537, 821 in annual revenue. This business plan was issued in June of 2009. To date, the golf commission has not adequately implemented recommendations to increase revenue. The Common Council should review this issue and adopt a rate structure that will boost revenue at the golf course. The enhanced revenue coupled with more efficient staffing would allow for a transfer of funds from the golf fund to the general fund therefore reducing taxes.

I hereby veto this resolution.”

Read Full Post »

Updated Water Distribution/Fire Hydrant
Summary & Action Plan

Overview of Previous Activities

– Replacement of 11 hydrants along Church Street
– Stimulus request of $21.5 Million: Identified water distribution problems, fire prevention upgrades, general health & safety issues

– Spring fires
– April 23: Flushing of hydrants commenced over period of 20 working days
– List of out-of-service hydrant list compiled

– Comprehensive Strategy developed

– Agreement with AFSCME to replace some hydrants to avoid improper practice grievances
– Engineering Department directed to make purchase of hydrants; implement replacement strategy

– Phase I & II Water Distribution Improvement demonstration made to Council by McDonald Engineering
– Hydrant purchase approved
– Bombard contract approved

– Winterization of hydrants

Dec. 2009 – Feb 2010
– 28 hydrants/10 valves replaced
(Little snow cover this year resulted in a deep frost line and increased deterioration of lines)

– CDBG grant request made for funding of Phase II improvements of Water Distribution System for fire prevention/public health

Systemic problems:
– Past practices severely compromised hydrants; caused severe corrosion, stems easily breakable
– Lubrication unlikely to alleviate breaks
– Restricted line flow: size of lines throughout city insufficient for fire truck pump using modern equipment

Action Plan
Implementation of new department policy and procedure will include the following steps:

– Fire Hydrant on Frederick Street to be installed this week; vendor has been contacted to apply lease of equipment to a purchase
– McDonald Engineering to devise procedure to pressure test hydrants (procedure, forms, etc.)
Fire Department to conduct flow testing throughout city (flushing and flow testing cannot be completed simultaneously; two different processes)
Requires closing off system incrementally to test (night work)
– Identifying hydrants in need of repair/replacement
Hydrants to be painted w/ color signifying issue
Hydrants to be clearly numbered
Plan to consider advanced age of system; possible problems in testing (breakages/leaks)
– Check operability systematically: valves, lines. PRV’s
– Reporting/Resolution
Inter-Departmental forms/sharing of information
Simultaneous reporting to AFD/DPW/Engineering
– Red-Alert System to be utilized in identifying hydrant/water distribution issues (connections made to City Hall today)
Chief of Fire Dept. to develop data base
Coordinates (latitude & longitude) of hydrants to be identified using Google Earth maps
Data Collection
Tracking & reporting
Notations/Status changes
Shared in cooperation with DPW/Engineering/Code Enforcement
Engineering to review hydrant map; compare with reported hydrant list
Track repairs/replacement;
Testing of multiple hydrants open in specified area to determine effect on flow
– Policy & Procedure Generation
More efficient prioritization made in determining repairs/replacement
Ensure practical maintenance schedule/replacement of lines/valves (regular cyclical testing)
– Staffing & Training
Coordination procedures to be devised between departments
Adequate training of employees

In addition to the steps identified in the action plan, the administration is also recommending establishing a dedicated fund to be used solely for the repair/replacement of water mains and water distribution systems.

Executive Summary

Administration, affiliated department executives and the city’s engineering consultants noted that there were no pre-existing plans for proactive maintenance and water distribution improvements. Elements of chief concern were inadequate tracking, data collection policy, planning and funding.

Most importantly, the issues that have arisen are not solely hydrant problems. They are indicative of the failure of an entire system with respect to water lines, valves, hydrants, manpower, maintenance, planning, tracking and monetary resources.

Though failure of our infrastructure is a painful reality, this administration recognizes this as an opportunity to institute proactive change, which has been incrementally devised and implemented over the past year. Health and safety are still our number one priorities.

The City of Amsterdam must make decisions that will serve the best interests of our community for years to come. The city has very experienced, talented employees that address impossibly difficult circumstances each day. These employees deserve our praise and the residents of Amsterdam deserve a firm commitment by the elected Council to provide adequate funding/bonding in addressing these public health and safety matters.

Read Full Post »