Millions to be approved for Kingston’s water, streetlight systems


KINGSTON – Water transmission mains and street light conversion projects were among the several million in new city bonding that was preliminarily approved by Kingston city officials Wednesday night. The Finance and Audit Committee spent the evening reviewing future projects during one of the summer’s only thunderstorms.
Kingston Water Department Judith Hansen requested $3.5 million in new bonds, in order to conduct a water main transmission upgrade.  The committee approved the hefty sum after a long discussion. Bonding goes up for a formal vote by the Common Council next month.
“We had six weeks to put together a grant proposal,” Hansen said.  “They [state agencies] will provide 60 percent of the cost; the application had a lot of restrictions in it,” Hansen said. “It was scored by the New York State Department of Health on a competitive benefit basis.”  
Redundancy for two critical mains is included.
“The consequences for failure are higher than I want to think about,” Hansen said. “There’s a single line 20-inch main, can’t be taken out of service, that brings all the water into Kingston. If it fails we’re all going to get thirsty.”
Another large upcoming project is the streetlight conversion agreement and construction bond, which was approved earlier this year by the Common Council, and went out to bid. Switching over to LED lighting brought a low bid of $1.4 million, and the city engineer is requesting $2.1 million in bonds to cover the fixtures and installation costs.
Some council members haggled over the high price of the LED lighting project Bids had only come in several hours before the meeting.
“It’s going to be such a cost savings for the city, I don’t understand why the push-back for it,” committee chairwoman Mary Ann Mills argued.
At issue is a conversion fee imposed by the power utility, to switch from incandescent systems.
“Given that Central Hudson is charging us $500,000 after they ripped us off with inefficient lighting, I don’t think they should be charging us that money,” Councilman Matthew Dunn said. “Those are my concerns; they have us over a barrel.”
Other items on the long agenda included an asset management software package proposal, with numerous options being explored by City Engineer Ralph Swenson; and a parking permit system proposal presented by City Comptroller John Tuey. The idea is to figure out a way to allow residents to park in municipal lots during winter snowstorms.

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