City Lawmakers Want to Include Fixing Infrastructure Problems in This Year's Budget

Apr 15, 2014

The city of Syracuse’s aging infrastructure and cold temperatures last winter is causing water main breaks to become even more common.  

Common Councilors are now going through various budget proposals for the city, and one of those includes managing the water supply.  Water main breaks have risen significantly, from 117 last year to 187 this year, said Jean Kessner, a city lawmaker.  There’s no clear way, or source of money to fix this, but she does have a possible solution in mind, Kessner said.

Syracuse Common Councilors consider including fixing water main breaks and potholes in this year's budget proposal on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.
Credit John Smith, WAER News

"I would like very much to see the federal government actually invest in infrastructure programs -- I know the president has spoken of this -- that puts people to work," she said.

Another major topic at the meeting involved fixing the city's roads, given there's so many potholes.  Facing numerous complaints about potholes, city lawmakers want to factor road repair into the city budget.  The colder-than-usual and prolonged winter only worsened the problem.  

 County Executive Joannie Mahoney has offered to pave 4.5 miles of the city's streets.If this happens, it means a busier-than-usual road construction season, said Pete O'Connor, county commissioner.

"If all streets that were listed were to be done this year, it would be chaotic for a while," O'Connor said. "You wouldn't do them all at once.  You would do one street.  You'll mill it, then pave it so that street would be open.  I don't think you would be doing more than one or two streets at a time."

 It takes about $1.5 million to reconstruct a mile-long road.  And it would take about $2 billion to reconstruct every city street in Syracuse, O'Connor added.

 City officals will meet with members of the Onondaga County Department of Public Works' plan to meet tomorrow to discuss County Executive Joannie Mahoney's offer.