Greenport plans plunge into $3.6M water system upgrade

GREENPORT — A 2005 water main replacement in the Friss Tract and Green Acres sections cost $2.6 million–and saved the town money and trouble.

Now Greenport hopes to spend another $3.6 million to replace more break-prone sections of its 80-year-old water distribution system.

Morris Associates engineer Ray Jurkowski told the Town Board Wednesday, October 6, that from 2000 to 2005, when Phase I was completed, the whole system had 200 breaks that cost the town more than $500,000. Since completion, 50 breaks have cost in all about $150,000.

He said Phase II, covering Lorenz Park and scattered other areas, will improve those numbers even further.

Mr. Jurkowski noted that the water district tax rate, $1.72 per $1,000 assessed value in 2006, is now $1.02–a 72-cent, or 41%, decrease. Borrowing the $3.6 million at 4.2% over 30 years would cost $214,340 per year, he said–which could be covered by bringing the tax rate back up to the 2006 level.

The $3.6 million figures includes professional services and contingencies, he said, remarking that Phase I of the project came in under budget.

The engineer explained that the old water lines to be replaced are of assorted pipes and sizes. Most are cast iron, which is highly susceptible to corrosion in Greenport’s high-acidity clay soil. Corrosion also attacks bolts, joints and other fittings. He showed photos of pipes and bolts eaten away to almost nothing.

Aside from the inconvenience to users of water shut-offs while breaks are found and repaired, Mr. Jurkowski said that the breaks also shorten the life of town roads, which must be repeatedly dug up and then patched. Breaks can also compromise fire protection and lead to increased operating expenses and labor costs.

The plan is to replace 17,320 linear feet of water line with ductile iron pipe, lined with cement and encased in a plastic sleeve to ward off corrosion.

If the town decides to proceed with the project, it must hold a public hearing and, perhaps, a permissive referendum on the bond issue.

In other business, the board:

*Heard a report from Louise Bliss, Greenport’s representative on the county Environmental Management Council. She said the council’s recent activities include a review of towns’ comprehensive plans. She suggested that the board look into seeking a grant to update its plan.

*Heard from organizer Sharon Zempko that this year’s Greenport Community Day drew the biggest crowd ever and that folks ate everything in sight.

*Heard from Police Chief Kevin Marchetto that his officers arrested a suspect in the theft of more than $2,500 in electronics gear from Walmart. Police also arrested a suspect–the fifth this year–for stealing steak and shrimp from a local supermarket. “This is a trend,” the chief reported, “in which the subjects are stealing the food–only steak and shrimp–then reselling it for half price.” Gourmands, beware.

*Heard resident Mary Hallenbeck ask, “What’s going on?” at the once-proposed Mental Health Association residential site at 32-38 Arthur Avenue. Ms. Hallenbeck reported seeing a car at one of the unoccupied residences there.

Supervisor Edward Nabozny reported “no contact” from the MHA, which is evaluating alternative sites proposed by the town. The association has already rejected one site.

“Should someone get in touch with them?” Ms. Hallenbeck inquired.

“No news is good news,” said Mr. Nabozny.

*Heard that the town-sponsored skiing program at Catamount begins January 7, and that the absolute sign-up deadline is November 1, no

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