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Amityville plans long-term goal of improving village roads

A comprehensive study of the state of Amityville Village roads is expected to be completed in mid-March, with the results to determine a plan of attack for what could be a 10-year, $10 million overhaul, village officials said.

Some of the village’s 30 miles of roads were last repaved in the 1970s, making for a white-knuckle driving experience that officials have likened to NASCAR racing, and some roads routinely flood.

“If we do this right, we’ll be able to tackle four or five streets at a time and we’ll save taxpayers money by enjoying economies of scale,” said Trustee Nick LaLota, the village’s budget officer.

The $22,400 road study, being done by Melville-based engineering firm Nelson & Pope, will divide roads into those that need immediate reconstruction, those that will need attention in the next several years, and those with roughly a decade of service left.

It will also identify $1.25 million in roadwork that could be done in the 2016 fiscal year, an amount LaLota said would permit the village to stay under the state tax-levy cap.

The village would likely go to the bond market to cover the cost of the overhaul, but officials have said a credit rating upgrade is needed first to secure an acceptable borrowing rate.

Credit ratings agencies and the New York State comptroller have in recent years issued warnings about village finances, but there are signs of improvement.

Moody’s Investors Service in August removed its negative outlook for Amityville, citing stabilization of the village’s finances in fiscal year 2014 and an anticipated operating surplus for the year.

Amityville Village’s general fund balance ended fiscal year 2015 in the black, the first time since 2008, according to an independent auditor’s report the village released in January.

“The pieces have to fall in place, but we’re working on them,” Mayor James Wandell said at a Village Board meeting Monday.

The village will also likely make piecemeal repairs to one or more roads over the next year, setting aside $300,000 to $400,000 from operating funds, LaLota said.

A 2010 study identified some of the main north-south roads in the village’s waterfront neighborhoods as being first in line for upgrades, but conditions may have changed since then, necessitating the new study, LaLota said.

“We’ve had two huge storms, including Sandy, and various other degradations of the roads,” he said.


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