City Improvement

Train StationThe City’s infrastructure improvement needs have been assessed and specific improvement programs have been developed to address these identified needs. Due to limitations in funding, not all areas of the city have been targeted for improvements at this time.


Various programs have been completed or are underway. The following documents explain the various projects that the city has undertaken during recent years:

Historic Funding Issues

It is impossible to discuss Infrastructure Improvements without addressing the key issue of funding. On February 18, 1999 the City Engineer in concert with DPW Superintendent Dowd and the consulting firm of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) reported to the Mayor and City Council the results of a pavement management study. The study evaluated four funding scenarios to address the deterioration of our municipal roadway network as follows:

  1. The first was a no funding scenario, which demonstrated the cost to repair the network doubled in five years.
  2. The second assumed annual funding at the traditional rate of $950,000 in Chapter 90 funds. This scenario demonstrated the cost to repair the network grew by 50% in five years, that is to say the funding level was inadequate to maintain the existing condition of the roadways in 1998. Note: Chapter 90 funding was reduced to $600,000 in 1999, to $300,000 in 2001 and back to $600,000 in 2002.
  3. The third scenario determined the annual funding level necessary to maintain the existing roadway condition as $1,800,000.
  4. The fourth scenario determined an annual funding level to improve the roadway condition and reduce the cost to repair the network by 10% in five years to be $2,200,000.
The study points out that an annual funding level of $950,000 for repair of the roadway network equates to an automobile owner putting aside $230 per year for maintaining and replacing a $20,000 automobile. Over the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 the City through Mayor Sullivan and the City Council, appropriated and spent $4.8 Million of local funds and another $1.2 Million in Chapter 90 funds. This equates roughly to $2.0 Million per year. A repeat assessment of the pavement inventory indicated a slight improvement in the overall pavement condition verifying the study’s findings. Those years possessed favorable economic conditions, the past year has seen no additional local funding. Although economic conditions have declined, the necessity to maintain the network has not.

A local funding level of $1,200,000 is currently necessary to address the City’s deteriorating pavement conditions. This will be augmented with recently authorized funding for the very popular improvements to the sanitary sewer system with associated pavement improvements, at $750,000 annually. In addition annual funding of $500,000 for the Storm Water Improvement Program (Drainage) and $250,000 for the Sidewalk Replacement Program are strongly recommended.

Master Planning

The aforementioned study is part of an overall Infrastructure Master Plan wherein improvement to pavement, sanitary sewers, storm water drainage and sidewalks are programmed for coordination of funding and construction sequencing. The aim is to derive the most benefit from limited resources and to facilitate a policy of comprehensive improvement. Comprehensive in that any work considered for a street should address all outstanding improvements. A street in need of drainage improvement should be looked at for additional improvements in pavement, traffic, sanitary sewer, street scape, etc. all within the framework of a larger Master Plan. This requires cooperation and coordination with multiple departments. Each constituent part of the Master Plan has been evaluated independently and brought together toward this end. Similarly, funding is sought independently although the interdependence of effort sometimes mixes funds.