MALTA – Town Sewer and Water Committee Chairman and Town Board member Craig Warner presented the committee’s recommendation to contract the Chazen Companies for $13,500 to work on a proposal to extend water into the Maltaville area to the Town Board on Monday. [Read more…]
MALTA– The Malta Town Board held a workshop on Monday, Mar. 23, to discuss three topics: tree cutting for The Round Lake Road Corridor Project, expansion amendments for Stewart’s Shops Planned Development District, and updates to Town-Wide Generic Environmental Impact Statements (TWGEIS).
MALTA – Town of Malta residents voiced concerns about a proposed project to fix the chronic flooding experienced by homeowners in Riley Cove and Silver Beach at a public hearing Wednesday, July 31.
About 20 citizens attended the public hearing, which was held at the David R. Meager Malta Community Center.
Town Board members and residents of both neighborhoods, which are located in a low-lying area on the western shore of Saratoga Lake, expressed concerns about the scope and cost of the plan, which would cost nearly $2 million to complete.
Engineers from Chazen Companies were hired by the town in April to identify the causes of the flooding and propose possible solutions after Riley Cove residents petitioned the Town Board to address the problem.
According to the study presented by Town Engineer Joseph Lanaro, vice president of engineering services at Chazen, the flooding has two main causes.
The study found one cause is several beaver dams built along Drummond Creek, which runs behind the homes. The beaver dams cause blockages in the flow of the creek. During a storm with heavy rainfall, the excess water spills over the creek bed and runs towards the homes.
The flooding is also the result of inadequate storm water drainage infrastructure, the report showed. There is undersized and antiquated piping that has not been consistently maintained or properly integrated, the study found, and eroded culverts and drainage ditches are contributing to the problem.
According to Lanaro, the best solution to the flooding would be for the town to create a drainage district that would allow residents to borrow the funding necessary for the improvements. The plan could be carried out in two phases to spread the costs over a longer period of time.
The first phase would focus on reducing the spillage from Drummond Creek. Continuing to trap the beavers and remove the dams would mitigate the flooding and water level control devices called Clemson Beaver Pond Levelers would be installed. These flow by-pass devices allow water to drain from behind the dams, Lanaro said.
Several residents expressed concern over this plan, noting that beaver trapping in the area has been occurring for years without having a permanent effect.
“This is just one piece of an overall strategy… it’s something that you’re going to have to deal with annually,” Lanaro said. “Once you have an invasive species, or a destructive species that is in this habitat, you cant get rid of it –- you have to manage it.”
One resident expressed doubt that the study went far enough in identifying the true causes of the flooding.
Previously, flooding was experienced only once a year, the resident said, and now the flooding happens 10 times per year. Since the beavers have been here all along, there must be other unidentified causes, he said.
Lanaro said the additional causes of the flooding have been identified, and would be addressed in the second phase of the plan.
This would include drainage ditch improvements, the installation of additional storm water drainage infrastructure such as catch basins and culverts and the replacement of existing damaged or undersized piping.
Additionally, engineers included ‘green’ storm water management practices in phase two of the plan, such as providing homeowners with rain barrels and cisterns to reduce runoff.
The report shows that the estimated cost per year to each homeowner within the drainage district varies with the structure of the plan.
One option for covering the costs of the project would be to apply for a grant from FEMA, Lanaro said.
Because mitigation initiatives for flooding along Saratoga Lake are identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan of Saratoga County, once a drainage district is formed including both neighborhoods, the town can apply for funding from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, he explained.
If the town’s application for funding were approved, FEMA would cover 75 percent of the project’s costs, totaling about $1.3 million.
This would leave less than $500,000 of the costs remaining to the residents of the drainage district. Over the course of a 30-year loan, this would mean the estimated median annual cost to property owners would be about $300, the report stated.
Without FEMA funding or a phased approach, the plan would cost homeowners $600.
Both estimates of the annual cost include a fee for the operation and maintenance of the drainage district. Built into this figure is a recommended capital asset management reserve, which includes the future costs for replacing the newly installed infrastructure after 30 years.
Town board member John Hartzell said he was concerned with this approach, because it means that current homeowners would not only be paying for the cost of the project now, but also the cost to replace it in the future.
“What you’re really doing on the front end of the first 30 years, property owners are paying for the system twice,” Hartzell said. “Wouldn’t it be better to force the cost of replacement, 30 years hence, on the future owners, so that they have to borrow the money as these folks will?”
Residents will be able to view the report created by The Chazen Companies on the Town of Malta’s website, Lanaro said.
To send a message to the author of this article, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To discuss this Ballston Journal article, sign-in and comment below.
MALTA — The Town of Malta continues to search for a solution to the chronic flooding experienced by residents in the Riley Cove area, on the west side of Saratoga Lake.
In April, Chazen Companies was hired by the town to study the situation after Riley Cove residents petitioned the Town Board to evaluate the problem.
Town engineer Joseph Lanaro revealed the results of the study at the July 1 Malta Town Board meeting. It found flooding is being caused by inadequate drainage infrastructure, including old pipes. That report also indicated it could cost as much as $2 million to fix the drainage infrastructure in the low-lying residential areas. The money would be needed to install a stormwater collection system large enough to alleviate the flooding.
According to the report, many of the drainage pipes and ditches in the area are also undersized or in poor condition. [Read more…]
As usual this April, it’s been tax time, a period to go through expenses and financial dealings and report them to the government while trying to experience the least amount of stress throughout. The Town of Malta is no exception to the rule, and on Monday evening the town board received a full report on Malta’s own financial audit during their monthly agenda meeting.
The board heard a report compiled by accountant Ken Claflin of certified public accounting firm Cusack & Company. According to Claflin, Malta’s finances are sound, with just some slight changes in spending and revenue from previous years.
“The town is very strong,” Claflin said. “On the income statement side, the revenues were up about $144,000. The primary driver of that was sales tax, sales tax was up $374,000.”
Departmental revenues have decreased slightly by about the same amount revenues have increased, due to natural fluctuations in what is spent on various departmental projects, Claflin explained.
“On the expenditure side, expenditures were down about $360,000,” Claflin said. “A big portion of that was in home and community services … Our employee benefit percentage of expenditures in 2008 were 11.3 percent and they’re 12.5 percent in 2012.”
After hearing the report, town supervisor Paul Sausville expressed the desire for increased clarity and simplification on the town’s finances so the public could better understand how Malta uses its money.
“Is there an effort underway to simplify?” Sausville asked.
“Even if you have an accounting degree, sometimes it’s difficult,” Claflin admitted, explaining that due to laws governing finance, there is no easy way to simplify.
The board expressed general satisfaction with the relatively minor changes and the lack of issues in the town’s statement, and commended town comptroller Kevin King on a job well done.
Monday evening also served as the board’s regular monthly agenda meeting, and several items were pegged to be dealt with over the month of May.
One project which has received some attention is an update to the town-wide generic environmental impact statement (GEIS).
“The GEIS looked at things from a cumulative impact standpoint,” explained Chris Rounds of Chazen Engineering. “It allows an examination of a broad base of issues that are facing the community and allows you to examine the impacts of those things on natural resources and the built environment, and then assess the mitigation costs.”
It has been eight years since initial adoption, so the GEIS is now seen as outdated.
“The town’s original GEIS focused on the impacts of growth that was developed as a result of the Luther Forest Technology Campus,” Rounds said. The original statement also developed some buildout plans for zoning development in the town alongside growth projections.
“We’ve seen a lot occur since 2005,” Rounds said.
A full GEIS update is a major project to be started in May, although with the town board already immersed in GLOBALFOUNDRIES‘ own environmental impact statement as the company considers whether or not to build Fab 8.2, it is not certain when such a project would be complete.
Other business included the installation of a piece of art created for the community at the entrance to Cramer Road North. Councilwoman Tara Thomas presented scale models of three different pieces, and after some discussion the board decided on an arrowhead design.
The arrowhead design is said to be based on Native American artifacts found in the immediate area.
A historic marker for the site of Ellmer Ellsworth’s childhood home has yet to be installed, though the property owner is now willing to allow it only on the condition he receive reassurance from town attorney Tom Peterson that such a marker would not obligate him in any way to abide by any guidelines governing historic properties.
While a response is being crafted by the attorney the town cannot authorize the ordering of the marker, and town historian Paul Perreault once again left a meeting not knowing when the marker would be installed. The town board should be voting on it next month, however.
Also up for a vote will be yet another new purchase offer received for the Collamer House property, which was set for sale until once again a potential buyer had to back out of a deal. This time, the change of heart was due to a lack of bank loans. The town is hoping the third time’s the charm.
A full list of agenda will be made available via the town’s website.
The town board will next meet for their regular business meeting on May 6 at 7 p.m in the Town Hall.
To contact the reporter on this story email email@example.com
To contact the editor on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday, March 18 the Malta Town Board held a small meeting and workshop to discuss two major issues confronting the community: the questions surrounding the development of GLOBALFOUNDRIES‘ Fab 8.2, and sewer designation and drainage. GLOBALFOUNDRIES in particular proved to be a point of contention.
But before those items could be addressed, the board adjourned to executive session. According to the night’s printed agenda, the purpose was to discuss the Collamer House; the sale of the property has been an ongoing concern for the town.
Once the board returned, discussion centered around a supplemental draft development agreement between GLOBALFOUNDRIES and the town for Fab 8.2. The original agreement, which establishes project parameters, does not fully account for the possible expansion.
The discussion quickly grew testy, as the board members could not completely find common ground as to who exactly is responsible for providing funds for internal development, such as roads, in the tech park.
“What is the better path to follow?” town supervisor Paul Sausville asked town attorney Tom Peterson, whose job it is to hash out the agreement with the chip maker.
Sausville was of the opinion GLOBALFOUNDRIES is responsible for picking up more of the bill, while board members John Hartzell and Peter Klotz disagreed.
In a tense moment, Sausville raised his concern about unspecified parties “shifting responsibility” for funding road work over to others, saying they may be (or could be) “lying” about their roles in paying for development. The comment triggered a heated exchange with Hartzell.
“Not be what?” Hartzell asked of the comment, prompting Sausville to respond: “I said lying.”
“Who’s lying?” Hartzell asked again. This time, Sausville dismissed it and said “semantics” need not be discussed. His comment set off another heated back-and-forth discussion.
“When somebody enters into agreement and has no intention of living up to that agreement, that is not honest,” Sausville said. “I think the facts speak for themselves.”
It was not clear, however, what exactly he was referring to. Following the comment, Sausville suggested the board “move on.”
“The situation has changed from the time agreements were made a number of years ago,” Klotz said. Since then, he said, different parties subject to agreements have not been able to pay due to many reasons, and he did not see it as bad faith.
“It’s disappointing,” Klotz said. Other members, including Tara Thomas, raised questions over whether Luther Forest’s internal roads are a significant benefit to the town.
After spending more time than they had intended on the draft development discussion the board tabled the matter for the time being, to be picked up again at a later point.
The second half of the meeting consisted of a briefing by Joe Lanaro of The Chazen Companies on the consolidation of drainage districts.
The presentation came on the heels of Malta’s March 12 announcement of their intention to upgrade part of the town’s sewer system, in keeping with the stated goal to “morph into 21st Century Malta.”
Responsibility for drainage has usually been delegated to homeowner’s associations and similar organizations. Lanaro’s presentation was intended to inform the town of other options.
By bringing drainage into development plans, the town could address the issues in a more dynamic way, Lanaro said.
“That’s the beauty about drainage districts,” he explained. “You can start with developing areas with creating districts as you go, and then you can consolidate them, link them together with existing areas that may have issues, sharing the cost.”
The overall effect of implementing consolidated drainage districts would to lessen the overall administrative burden created by separately micromanaged (or unmanaged) drainage projects, Lanaro said.
The town board would have the ultimate authority over districts, he said. They would be accountable to the citizens, and would be able to make wider decisions, as well as apply for FEMA funding.
“Instead of there being a lot of finger pointing,” Lanaro said, “You are stronger united.”
The town board will next meet on Monday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m. for its monthly agenda meeting.
To contact the reporter on this story email email@example.com
To contact the editor on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org
BY JENNIE GREY
Revising Malta’s road specifications and standards would prolong the life of the streets, improve safety and save money, said engineer Joel Bianchi of Chazen Companies, who works with the town. At the Monday, Oct. 3, Town Board meeting, he gave a presentation on updating those specifications and ensuring compliance.
“Standard specifications mean setting forth an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product or service,” Bianchi said. “Our intent is to help with such issues as vehicle access and snow removal.”
The first major change would modify pavement requirements, he said. The present standards call for 2.5 inches of binder course, followed by 1.5 inches of top course. The new standards require 3.5 inches of binder course, then 1.5 inches of top course done consecutively. Later, an additional 1.5-inch top course would be installed after road conveyance.
The increased depth of the pavement extends road life, as it is less susceptible to winter weather and deterioration.
“We are struggling to get 10 years’ useful life out of the local roads now,” said Highway Superintendant Roger Crandall. “This new process would give us 15 years.”
The second adjustment involves changing local/marginal road width, Bianchi said. Currently, the standard demands a 30-foot-wide pavement with 26-foot-wide travel and two-foot wing gutters on each side. The new specifications would be a 26-foot-wide pavement with 22-foot-wide travel and two-foot wing gutters on both sides.
This update would help the town comply with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Green Infrastructure initiative, in that the streets would be less impervious. Also, more space for infrastructure and for snow storage would be provided in the right-of-way.
The third proposition would alter cul-de-sac geometry. Presently, a cul-de-sac has 140 feet of outside diameter and a 110-foot pavement outside diameter. Updates would make this 166 feet and 132 feet. The increase provides excess for vehicles and room for snow storage, said Bianchi. A modified “hammerhead”-shaped turnaround for dead ends would also help lessen imperviousness.
Fourth, Bianchi suggested mandatory road inspections and proof of certification. Mandatory inspections, a new standard, would be directed at roads intended for conveyance to the town and paid for by the developer.
“This would provide an independent third party to ensure developer/contractor compliance with town specifications,” Bianchi said.
The certification proof would require a licensed professional to examine both public and private roads once they are completed.
Bianchi proposed, first, meeting with the emergency services to ensure their needs are met. Modification of the standards would take place after town officials and the public had the chance to comment. A public hearing would follow, and then the Town Board could move toward adoption.
“What about the budget impact?” asked Councilwoman Tara Thomas. “Will we need more staff? Will we need a larger budget for the Highway Department?”
Bianchi laid out the costs for the changes in the local/marginal streets, which would add up to $105 per foot of road. This is a 12 percent increase in the cost per foot of road.
“It will cost more, but then the roads will have a longer life,” said Councilman Peter Klotz.