BERLIN – Town officials approved a funding transfer to allow a stormwater project to go forward.
The Berlin Town Council this week voted unanimously to adjust the budget for stormwater improvements to Pine Street, Franklin Avenue and Nelson Street. The change will allow crews to address infrastructure issues uncovered once the project was already underway.
“We actually have to change some of the material out to make this work,” said Jamey Latchum, the town’s water resources director.
In November, the town began a $1.3 million stormwater improvement project in the area of Pine Street, Franklin Avenue and Nelson Street. The project is being funded with a $400,000 grant, $383,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and $500,000 in ARPA funding that was initially allocated for a wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Latchum told the council this week that the project would need another $100,000 for additional materials and work on the project.
Essentially he said the town needed to use a different type of piping than previously planned. Doing so will allow the town to avoid a Verizon fiberoptic line that would be extremely costly to relocate. He said the town was going to try to do more investigative work before starting projects in the future. He said test pitting was an option though it typically cost more than $1,500 to do one hole.
“It’s unfortunate,” Latchum said. “We’re going to do our due diligence on future projects and try to budget money ahead and do test pitting.”
Despite the increase in cost, he said he really thought the project needed to proceed.
He added that he didn’t want to cut corners on other aspects of it, such as by not redoing the sidewalks, for example.
“These people deserve the best,” he said.
Staff recommended that the $100,000 be funded with $50,000 in ARPA funds currently allocated for audio visual improvements in council chambers and $50,000 in ARPA funds allocated for the digitization of town documents.
Councilman Jack Orris suggested the town use the ARPA funding that had been allocated for Rails to Trails, as that project wasn’t proceeding.
Tyndall said those funds could be reappropriated later to cover some of what was being spent from the digitization and audio visual funding.
“I think that’s probably better to do in January,” he said. “We’ll work to get a better understanding of what’s available.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the budget transfer.