$7.5M regional anaerobic digester tops Greenfield capital budget

Staff Writer
Published: 3/20/2019 11:23:28 PM

GREENFIELD — The mayor’s capital budget for this upcoming year includes a $7.5 million regional anaerobic digester and $550,000 toward the initial work for the new fire station.

The budget plans for the future with $10 million toward the fire station the following year and $275,000 in 2023 for a long-awaited skate park, according to budget documents released by Mayor William Martin this week.

The capital budget, which calls for using $2.3 million from the general fund, will likely go to the Greenfield City Council for a first reading in April, as the budget process kicks under way following months spent focusing on a new public library and a fire station or public safety complex.

The regional anaerobic digester has been discussed on and off for more than a year now by city officials. With sludge costs dramatically increasing as places across the region close their disposal plants, Greenfield and Franklin County have looked at alternate ways to reduce costs and potentially do so in a more eco-friendly manner.

Greenfield Director of Public Works Director Marlo Warner said he expects costs to be around $420,000 for sludge disposal mainly because of hauling costs toLowell, which may not be open much longer.

Six or seven communities are interested in contributing to a regional anaerobic digester, which may be hosted by Greenfield, Warner said. Montague remains a strong partner, along with Hadley, which is the only community outside of the county at the moment.

The Department of Public Works will continue to have hefty infrastructure costs. The mayor recommends $1.2 million specifically for public works this year — which doesn’t include the $7.5 million anaerobic digester — that will be mostly spent on roadwork and paving. The following year, 2022 would require $1.2 million to repair the Wiley-Russell Dam along Deerfield Street and $1.3 million for the Sanderson Street reconstruction.

A Westside water tank is budgeted for $4.5 million in 2025 and signals the most significant expense for the next five years for water-related projects.During that period, the mayor expects the city to need $1.8 million for dredging theGlen Reservoir and dam repairs.

GCET, the quasi-city entity that provides internet and soon-to-be TV streaming services to Greenfield residents, will need $150,000 this coming year. The project will be paid for through grant money. The next two years after will require another $225,000, but no additional money is budgeted for 2024 and 2025. The start-up company has been in the build-out stage for the past year.

The mayor’s capital budget also includes costs for City Hall repairs, including repairs for a brick wall that is a “major safety concern to the public.” If not corrected, for the $40,000 price tag, it may collapse.

The Greenfield Fire Department will need new fire trucks, but the price remains under discussion because of a potential agreement with contracting services for Leyden, which in return would give the city a fire truck.

The Greenfield Public Schools are looking for additional money for repairs, including $100,000 for asbestos removal at Four Corners Elementary School.

The school department requested: $50,000 for safety cameras; $90,000 for paving the Federal Street Elementary School parking lot; $113,500 for paving the Newton Elementary School parking lot; and $125,000 for improving access to the Four Corners parking lot. These requests were not included in the mayor’s budget.

Of the $1.4 million in school requests, $330,000 were met for this immediate year by Martin.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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