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Long IslandTowns

Smithtown board OKs $6.65 million for road program

This is Smithtown Town Hall in an undated

This is Smithtown Town Hall in an undated photo. Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

The Smithtown Town Board has unanimously approved the town highway department's $6.65 million road program for 2014.

The board voted 5-0 on the plan. The funding for it was already allocated in the town budget adopted last year.

The program calls for $4.9 million to pave nearly 26 miles of road, $1 million for curbing and $750,000 for sidewalk repair, Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen said.

The department plans to reconstruct 1.3 miles of road, which includes curbs, paving and drainage, and microsealing 7.42 miles of road, Jorgensen said.

"I'm looking forward to getting started," he said. Jorgensen added that work orders would be handed out next week.

The town board also voted 5-0 at its meeting Tuesday on a home rule request in support of a State Legislature bill to authorize an increase of highway department purchases from $800,000 to $1.2 million.

An obscure state law, dating to 1936, established caps on the amount of tax dollars towns can spend on heavy machinery. Several Long Island municipalities said the law prevented upgrades to aging snow removal trucks that broke down during a winter storm last year.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said he voted for the request "because equipment is now more expensive and the old standards don't allow for more purchasing."

Jorgensen said he spent $220,000 on one new 10-wheeler alone -- more than a quarter of Smithtown's $800,000 cap.

"That increase is way overdue," he said. "It should have been done five years ago."

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