Northampton Council prioritizes paving in the New Year

  • Northampton city hall File photo

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2018 9:44:21 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Burts Pit Road is among a group of streets slated for paving work in the coming year, following a borrowing authorization approval from the Northampton City Council for $2.5 million Thursday.

Narkewicz said that he was asking for the borrowing authorization now because the city wants to put work on Burts Pit Road out to bid next week, with the goal of beginning construction on the project this spring.

“I don’t know how many years I have called in potholes, potholes and potholes,” said Ward 6 City Councilor Marianne LaBarge, on Burts Pit Road. “This is needed.”

The city also plans to work on Spring Street, Glendale Road and Bridge Road in Fiscal Year 2020 — between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020 — although the complete list of road improvements in the city will not be finalized until next year.

The borrowing authorization will have to be approved again on a second reading due to Northampton procedural rules, but Narkewicz said that Burts Pit Road can and would be put out to bid before that second reading approval. He also said that getting borrowing authorization this far in advance of a new fiscal year is not unusual for paving and school projects.

In the current fiscal year $1.5 million was authorized to be borrowed for paving projects, a number of whom the mayor noted as he made the pitch for additional funds to the council, including the milling and repaving of Pleasant Street between Main Street and Hockanum Road, Cooke Avenue and about 8.1 miles of crack sealing on a “long list of streets.”

The $1.5 million for paving in Fiscal Year 2019 represented a $1 million increase from the previous fiscal year. The $2.5 million authorized for Fiscal Year 2020 represents a further $1 million increase.

“I want to prioritize paving,” said the mayor following the meeting.

One of the reasons Narkewicz gave for this at the meeting was that Chapter 90 funding from the state has remained level. He also lamented that the “Fair Share Amendment” did not pass this year, which would have imposed a tax on individual income over $1 million in the Commonwealth, part of which was slated to go to funding for infrastructure. The amendment was held off of November’s ballot by a decision from the Supreme Judicial Court.

The council responded favorably to the mayor’s request, which was approved by the finance committee, and then in first reading by the whole council unanimously at the meeting.

“This is a terrific bump here,” said Ward 3 Councilor James Nash.

In other council news, the council continued approving an increase in the hourly rate at the E.J. Gere Parking Garage on second reading to its Dec. 20 meeting. This was done at the request of the mayor, so that the rollout could be done in the new year and not during the holidays.

Additionally, City Council President Ryan O’Donnell’s home rule petition to expand the membership of the board of commissioners of the Northampton Housing Authority was approved on second reading.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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