YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Some of Yorktown’s bumpy roads may be getting smoothed out sooner than planned.
A preliminary schedule of capital projects for 2017 and 2018 was drafted at the May 23 town board work session. Included was a plan to pave 20 miles of road this year as opposed to the average 5.5 miles that are paved annually.
In the past, residents have been vocal in expressing their dissatisfaction with the state of many roads in Yorktown. The complaints have not been lost on Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli, who said that with the resources currently available, it would take 37 years to complete one cycle of paving Yorktown’s 203 miles of road. Paganelli said a one-time expenditure of $27 million, the estimated cost to pave the entire town at once, is unrealistic; but an increase in this year’s paving budget could expedite the process significantly.
Intending to push the town toward a 16-year replacement schedule, Paganelli said the board reached out to him for a list of high-priority roads.
“This administration, from the beginning, has allocated a quarter-of-a-million dollars to us annually,” he said. “I know they recognize the necessity.”
Paganelli said the importance of well-maintained roads spans from public safety to property values.
With an early idea of the roads he would prioritize, Paganelli predicts an additional $1.2 million to $1.5 million from the town’s general fund would allow his department to pave up to 20 miles of road this fall.
By his calculations, the town has about $785,000 in allotted funds and winter relief funds, as well as state-awarded money. The additional $1.2 to $1.5 million would give the department about $2.3 million to use toward paving.
“Hopefully this infusion of cash will allow us to catch up on the work that needs to be done,” he said.
He stressed that none of the plans are final at this time, and the board was supportive and has asked him to design a presentation to share with the community during a public meeting. A date for that has not been set at this time.
“We’ve got to make it clear what our method is,” said Supervisor Michael Grace.
There was a brief discussion about what the increased allocation of paving funds would mean for the tax cap if the board was to commit more funds annually in the future; however, the discussion was hypothetical, and the board has not yet made a solid commitment.
Since the town board’s self-coined “master plan” to equip 450 homes with sewer connections is still in development, many of Paganelli’s suggested roads are in flux. Paganelli said he is reconsidering roads that could potentially be torn up to build sewer infrastructure, to avoid wasting funds. Additionally he is reaching out to utility companies to ensure they don’t have any major projects planned that would uproot any of the streets he has in mind.
The “high-priority” roads were chosen for a number of reasons, Paganelli said: the condition of the road, its location and the amount of traffic it receives. These factors also influence the depth of the asphalt overlay that could be applied to the road. A road that requires 1.5 inches of asphalt as opposed to 2 inches costs 25 percent less, Paganelli said.
Additionally, the highway department will be trying out different, less expensive surface treatments on a few of the roads.
“[Paving] is the one thing that benefits everybody,” Paganelli said.
At last week’s work session, the board went through a preliminary list of projects, many of which they did not yet have exact figures for. These included an improved streetscape on Commerce Street and Downing Drive, sidewalks for Veterans Road, and a new oil tank for Yorktown Town Hall.
Other projects, such as relocating the highway garage, the Granite Knolls Sports Complex and the culvert repairs on Hill Boulevard and Veterans Road, have been discussed before and are slated to begin in 2017 or 2018.
Grace did say that there are parties interested in purchasing the existing highway garage and that he anticipates the sale will yield up to $1.5 million. The project remains “cost neutral,” he said.
“This kind of investment—it’s what we’re here for,” Grace said.