By Connor Linskey
The Town of Montgomery Highway Department saved town taxpayers more than $600,000 on two capital improvement projects in 2020.
The highway department worked with the new administration at town hall to identify major infrastructure projects that can be completed in-house. In 2020 the department completed the Corbett Road box culvert replacement project and the Borden Road bridge replacement project, which ended up saving the town taxpayers over $600,000 based on estimated project costs that had been on file with the town engineer.
Town of Montgomery Superintendent of Highways Shaun Meres was proud of the hard work done by his department in conjunction with the town’s new administration.
“None of what we did this year and will continue to do in the years ahead would be possible without my deputy Blaine Petzold and our hardworking team of employees,” he said. “We have a hard-nosed crew and most of us are town residents and taxpayers so there is a lot of extra thought and pride that goes into our work. It has been really enjoyable going to work every day with the support of the new administration.”
According to Farr Engineering, the estimated cost for the Corbett Road box culvert replacement was over $100,000 and the Borden Road bridge replacement estimated project cost was more than $500,000. Instead, Meres and the highway department completed the project in-house at a total cost of approximately $98,000. The project was then submitted to New York State’s Extreme Winter Recovery funding program. The town’s submission was granted and 100 percent of the project cost was reimbursed by New York State.
In addition to the two large capital projects, Meres lobbied the town board to fund a new capital purchasing program to better equip the town highway department with the tools they need to curb spending while addressing infrastructure needs in future years. The town is in the process of purchasing a paver and trailer totaling $133,000. It currently costs the town $15,000-$20,000 per month to rent a paver to complete paving projects. In 2021, the town is projecting to save over $100,000, paying for nearly the entire paver purchase in year one. The town would then continue to see annual savings by not renting this equipment in subsequent years.
Moving forward, Meres and his department will continue to focus on capital improvements and special parks projects as well as continuing to repair drainage and culvert pipes in preparation for future paving projects.
Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher is proud of all the work Meres and his department have done and continue to do.
“Shaun [Meres] is a very hard worker and a great leader but what most don’t know is that he has exceptional knowledge in all state reimbursement programs that exist to offset municipal infrastructure projects,” Maher said. “Shaun is an analytical thinker and as a homeowner himself he understands the importance of maximizing every single taxpayer dollar. His creativity and ingenuity was on full display this year and it was a lot of fun working with him to put an infrastructure plan in place that has the next 10 to 20 years in mind. We both have young children and we want to make sure we leave our town in good shape when they are ready to raise their families.”