LITTLE VALLEY — Cattaraugus County Public Works officials got good news after submitting the proposed 2021 road and bridge plan — the county administrator wanted to add $2 million to the capital plan.
“I was ecstatic,” said Mark Burr, the Public Works director of engineering. “It took a bigger bite of the apple. The extra $2 million is strictly contractor work.”
The county Public Works Department is responsible for more than 400 miles of county roads,
County Administrator Jack Searles asked members of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee, after the proposed $14.8 million DPW budget was submitted, what they could do with another $2 million. He was looking for a road-heavy plan.
The answer was another 35.3 miles of roadwork. Using funds left over from projects already completed, state and federal funds and $6.6 million carried over from 2020, Public Works officials hope to get the most bang for their buck.
County lawmakers often wait until February or March to add a couple million dollars from surplus to add to the county’s summer paving projects. Getting a late start on design and engineering can result in higher prices.
The proposed 2021 county budget contained $6.3 million to design and build 19.5 miles of seven county roads. Another $875,000 was included to mill and pave a half mile of County Road 100 and a 3.6-mile section of County Road 65, both in Ashford.
How did Public Works officials come up with the projects on short notice? Most of the projects were already in the pipeline and could be readied in time for the 2021 construction year. “We moved most of them up a year,” Burr said.
Legislators’ reactions seemed to be positive, Burr said. “I’m excited. We can deliver this bigger program. This is very heavy on asphalt. Plus we did a lot of drainage work this year.” Those roads will be read for paving next year.
“There are plenty of candidates for paving,” Burr continued. “We cut back a little on culvert and bridge work. That’s what the public is asking for.”
Public Works Committee Chairman Richard Helmich, R-Delevan, said he thought the county administrator’s additional $2 million “was just great, although he was hoping for more. “I would have liked to see $3 million more, but it’s a good start.
Searles told legislators on Wednesday he had not revised state highway revenues including CHIPs, $2.7 million; PAVE NY, $638,000; and Extreme Weather funding, $397,000 despite state suggestions that some revenues might be withheld due to the effects of the pandemic.
Searles told county lawmakers that he is proposing a $3.5 million bond issue to round out paying for the expanded paving program. The county should take advantage of low interest rates, the county administrator said.
The full county budget will be presented to county lawmakers on Nov. 4.
The extra funded roads, mileage and cost are:
• County Road 51 — 3.3 miles, $355,000.
• County Road 50 — 0.70 mile, $429,000.
• County Road 6 — 0.66 mile, $539,000.
• County Road 80 — 0.22 mile, $589,000.
• County Road 10 — 2.7 miles, $801,000.
• County Road 78 — 4.3 miles, $914,000.
• County Road 2 — 3.8 miles, $1 million.
• County Road 8 — 5.5 miles, $1.1 million.
• County Road 67 — 2.1 miles, $1.3 million.
• County Road 6 — 1.8 miles, $1.5 million.
• County Road 16 — 6.6 miles, $1.7 million.
• County Road 46 — 1.7 miles, $1.9 million.
• County Road 55 — 2 miles, $2 million.