The Babylon Town Board has approved borrowing more than $17.56 million for facility upgrades and equipment and land purchases this year.
On Jan. 15, the board approved the bonding, which will exceed the amount of debt the town plans to retire this year by $2.29 million. The board voted last month to amend the debt retirement policy to allow the town to borrow an amount that equals or exceeds the amount of debt paid off every year.
Much of the borrowing is due to maintenance needed on facilities that were built 10 to 15 years ago, such as those in parks, said Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez.
“The infrastructure in the town is like a house,” he said. “Your roof has a lifetime to it, your siding, your windows; everything has a life. So a lot of the things we’re going to be doing in 2020 are things that are necessary.”
The board voted on 28 separate bonding resolutions, ranging in amounts from $15,000 for lighting at Wyandanch Plaza to $10.62 million for road reconstruction throughout the town.
The town’s second largest spending allotment is $1.42 million for the purchase of heavy machinery and equipment. Part of that bill is $230,000 for a “lightning loader,” which a spokesman said is a type of dump truck with a device for lifting debris that is useful after major storms.
Tanner Park in Copiague is targeted for $1 million in bonding to be used for new turf and fencing at the Little League fields. Another $600,000 is being used for new LED lights, fencing and other improvements at various town parks.
The town is setting aside $500,000 in bonding for possible property acquisitions as part of the Wyandanch Rising revitalization. Since the redevelopment effort started nearly 20 years ago, the town has spent $27 million to purchase 48 properties.
More than $400,000 is being spent on IT, including updating the 100 to 150 computers in the town that are more than 10 years old, a spokesman said.
Babylon also will use $80,000 to create a roller rink at the current ice-skating rink in Wyandanch Plaza.
Martinez said that the work being done now, and the change in borrowing policy, will ultimately save Babylon money.
“The Town Board needs the flexibility from time to time to be able to spend a little more to be able to maintain the infrastructure in the town so that it doesn’t cost a lot more money in the long term by us punting some of these things down the road,” he said.