LOCKPORT – The Town Board on Wednesday approved the borrowing of almost $17 million for a wide range of water and sewer line repairs in the town.
Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said the town will be paying back the money for 20 years. He said the town officially estimates a 3.5 percent interest rate on the bonds it will issue, but Smith called that figure “conservative.”.
Councilman Paul W. Siejak said much of the town’s infrastructure was installed in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1970, the town’s population was slightly over 8,000, while today it has more than 20,000.
“I want to emphasize how important it is that we maintain the integrity of our water and sewer infrastructure,” Siejak said. “The growth of the town has been dependent on good water and sewer infrastructure.”
Siejak said the town is losing 33 percent of the water it buys from the Niagara County Water District through leaky pipes before it ever gets to users. He said the “industry standard” for leak loss is 15 percent.
Siejak said said the town has 140 miles of water lines, 106 miles of sewer lines, 1,500 fire hydrants and 38 sewer lift stations.
Siejak said any water rate increases triggered by the project in most of the town will be offset by corresponding sewer rate decreases.
John Benoit, a town resident who serves as chairman of the board of the Niagara USA Chamber, said at a public hearing on the bond issues that the business community endorses the plan.
“Nobody likes taxes, but one thing we do like is a good, long-term approach to spending,” Benoit said.
The water program, costing an estimated $14 million, includes the replacement of 10-inch iron water mains with plastic pipes on Leete, Slayton Settlement, Upper Mountain, Bowmiler, Old Saunders Settlement, Junction, Keck, Ernest, Purdy and South Transit roads, Shimer Drive and Beattie Avenue.
The package also includes replacement of 11 pressure-reducing valves, the purchase of a leak monitoring system and a townwide leak detection survey.
The $2.84 million sewer package includes rehabilitation of pump stations on IDA Park Drive, Keck Road and at the County Jail, and the insertion of slip lining into existing sewer mains on Tonawanda Creek Road.
The Harris Beach law firm will be paid $65,000 to prepare the bond documents; Municipal Solutions of LeRoy will be paid $59,000 for financial advisory services connected with the bond sale; and Wendel, the town’s engineering firm, will receive $549,500 for design, surveying and preparation of bid documents.