Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cheshire's Christmas wish list for Obama Claus

I wish President Bush and President-elect Obama did not believe that money grows on trees. Nonetheless, they're obviously both afflicted with Inside-the-Beltway Disease and are convinced that running Hank Paulson's printing press 24/7 is a net positive for America.

Recognizing that I can't beat back this tidal wave of "free money," at the December 9 Council meeting I voiced my desire for Cheshire to jump on the bandwagon and make some projects happen before America's currency is trading on par with Zimbabwe's currency.

If you watch this video, you'll see that the Town Manager and his staff were already thinking about this:

And now the followup - based on some staff recommendations, here's the January 2009 starting point for the Council. I understand these projects to be "shovel-ready:"

Applewood/Country Club Sanitary Sewers - $425,000 -This project has been approved by the Town of Cheshire Water Pollution Control Authority. The project will extend sanitary sewers to existing homes in areas which have septic failures and problems. The construction plans and specifications are ready for bid. This would create construction jobs and materials from local suppliers.

Water Pollution Control Plant Influent Pump Station - $800k – Pumps, generator, and associated equipment which send waste water through the Town Water Pollution Control Plant is original to the facility construction is the early 1970’s. It has been identified as a priority in the recent Facilities Plan submitted to DEP. The maximum capabilities need to be increased by nearly 50%. This current situation does not allow flow to go through the Town’s Plant, and creates a backup and causes a sanitary sewer overflow into a dike area, and a Town road and drainage system. This will create heavy construction jobs, and also those in the employee mechanical and electrical trades.

Sanitary Sewer Inflow & Infiltration Improvements - $600k – Improvements to the Town of Cheshire Sanitary Sewer mains and manholes have been approved by the Water Pollution Control Authority. Excess flow entering the system uses the capacity intended for residential, commercial, and industrial flow. This creates a strain on the Town’s wastewater treatment plant and causes sanitary sewer overflow. This will create construction jobs.

Lilac Drive Pump Station – $150k - The Town has approved $750k for the rehabilitation of this nearly 30 year old sanitary sewer pump station. However, due to unforeseen conditions encountered during construction, and additional $150k is necessary to allow the project to be completed. This will create mechanical and electrical jobs.

Marion Road Curves: Drainage and Reconstruction- $200k – A substandard roadway that has been identified as a safety concern and is stated for improvements. The project will create a reconstructed roadway with an acceptable horizontal geometry. This will create construction jobs.

West Johnson Road Bridge Scour Improvements – $150k - The undermining of the center bridge supports have been identified in Connecticut DOT inspection reports as being “scour critical”. This project will fortify the river bed around the supports, structurally reinforce the support columns, and install a warning detection system. This will create construction jobs, and some specialized structural work.

Country Club Road Bridge- $50k- Parapet, railing, impact attenuation system ; The existing bridge has a 1950’s substandard railing system which both constricts the roadway, and does not provide any fall protection to motorists or pedestrians. This project will remedy this situation. This will create construction jobs.

Notch Road Bridge- $50k - Parapet, railing, impact attenuation system; The existing bridge has a 1950’s substandard railing system which both constricts the roadway, and does not provide any fall protection to motorists or pedestrians. This project will remedy this situation. This will create construction jobs.

Peck Lane Drainage and Reconstruction - $250k- This will improve a half mile of a main Town arterial roadway which services residential and industrial traffic. This will create construction jobs and better serve the business in the north west section of Town.

Wiese Road Culverts - $40k- This project will replace two existing metal pipes which are rusting and in danger of structural failure. This will create construction jobs.

Mountain Road Milling and Asphalt overlay - $400k- This will repair sections of a major Town arterial road that received a 51 out of 100 rating in a recent survey of Town roads. This will create construction jobs and a better traveling roadway.

Town Hall Chiller/ Ventilation Improvements - $300 – This will replace the existing system at Town Hall which is over twenty years old and has out lived its serviceable life. This will provide energy saving and address reliability issues. This will create electrical, mechanical, and technical jobs.

Town Hall IT Center Mechanical/Electrical Improvements – This will provide the improvements necessary to provide for the ever increasing demand of the Town computer network. This server handles all Town buildings and employees, including schools and education buildings. This will increase the reliability of the Town network and provide energy improvements. This will create electrical, mechanical, and technical jobs.

Public Works Salt Shed Improvements - $50k – This project will correct structural and safety concerns with an existing building, and will enable the Town to store material for winter storms in an environmentally compliant manner. This will create construction jobs.

West Main Streetscape (Western most portion) - $200k – This project will enhance the West Main Village and serve as an incentive for future economic and commercial growth. This will create construction jobs.

Moss Farm Watermain Extension - $175k - This will extend potable public water watermain and service to an area that has been identified by the Department of Environmental Protection as having known ground water problems. This will also serve for firefighting purposes. This will create construction jobs.

Edgecomb Road/Waterbury Road Watermain Extension - $400k - This will extend potable public water watermain and service to an area that has been identified by the Department of Environmental Protection as having known ground water contamination. This will also serve for firefighting purposes. This will create construction jobs.

Marion Road (south loop) Watermain Extension -$300k - This will extend potable public water waterman and service to an area that has been identified as needing water for firefighting purposes. This will create construction jobs.

Dodd Middle School Cafeteria - $275k - This will rehabilitate the food preparation facilities and equipment for the Towns only middle school. This will create jobs for construction and equipment suppliers.

Norton School Windows - $580k – This will replace all windows in a 1950 era school. This will provide energy saving and create a better school environment. This will create construction jobs.

Hummiston Fire Code Compliance - $600 – This project will install fire protection sprinklers to and existing school and Education Department offices. It will also include accessibility issues such as door widths, means of egress, and places of refuge.

Not Shovel Ready – Needs permitting

Black Road Bridge over Honeypot Brook - $600 – This will replace a functionally obsolete bridge on a collector Town Road. This will create construction jobs.

Mount Sanford Road Culverts - $275 – The three existing culvers are located in an historic district and frequently overtop, requiring the road to be closed at least annually. This work will increase the capacity by upgrading a culvert, and performing some upstream modifications. This will create construction jobs.

Sindall Brook Stream Stabilization - $150k- Excess stream flow has washed out a private culvert and driveway, and has created erosion that has caused property damage. This has the potential to structurally affect at least one dwelling. This also causes erosion which carries into the Quinnipiac River. This project will mitigate the flow, and provide armor coating to protect the stream channel. This will create construction jobs.


I'm sure you can find many of the above projects here in last year's capital budget.

A few thoughts:

1) There's no turf in here yet. But then, this is an idea from Town Hall staff. And the turf is one of the few ideas to come from the current Council majority - not from Town Hall staff.

2) Not sure why Lilac Drive pump station is at $150k, since it's already been dropped to $100k. But this is a work-in-process.

3) Independent of my above comments, I spoke with the WPCA Chair a second time and reiterated my willingness to support funding for the sewer plant upgrade's design work... if we could fast track the project to the point where Obama would print an additional $10-20 million and give it to the town for the project.

4) Time is of the essence. Governor Rell has requested that towns provide their wish list to Obama Claus by December 31. So while I wish the Council would deliberate the above list and possibly make changes, I appreciate the Town Manager taking action... particularly since I'm confident the Council would unanimously support most of the above list anyway.

5) If it were up to me, I'd add a permanent structure for the pool to the list.

Tim White

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought Dodd Middle School kitchen renovations were for $120,000 not $275,000. And I agree that the pool cover project should be on the list - we've been talking about it for so long, seems it should be shovel ready!

tim white said...

seems it should be shovel ready!

Well, whenever the pool gets discussed, I've certainly seen the Council shoveling a lot of something.

Anonymous said...

Where is all this money going to come from?

tim white said...

Obama Claus is going to print it! Helicopter, Ben Bazooka Hank and their newly minted right hand man, Geithner, are all drinking Krugman's Kool-Aid. So everything will be fine. Just remember, it's...

Change we can believe in!

Though on a serious note, I do believe Obama will effect change on the environment, Iraq and assorted other issues.

Too bad for us that ill-considered monetary policy could lead to the collapse of the dollar.

tim white said...

But hyperinflation is a thing of the past, right?

Inflation levels in Zimbabwe are running at 13.2 billion per cent a month and could reach an all-time world record within weeks. Nov 13, 2008

1920 Weimar Republic
1946 Hungary
1994 Yugoslavia
2008 Zimbabwe

But we're different.

We're rich!

As Mike Ulicki mentioned earlier today in the above link... the US acts as the world's reserve currency and possesses the world's most powerful military.

But in my opinion, that doesn't mean we get to be rich forever... and it certainly doesn't mean we can print money at will.

It just means that other countries are going to deal with our foolhardy government more gingerly than, say, Zimbabwe.

tim white said...

And this is why I voted for Ron Paul. I know he upset a lot of people, but his underlying point is 100% correct.

We can't afford to continue what we're doing. And while his approach of dismantling the federal gov't is extreme... our situation is extreme. Even Bush / Obama speak of us being on the verge of another depression.

And neither Bush nor Obama want to raise taxes. So the adult approach would be to cut spending. But instead, Bush / Dodd / Obama think they found a special trick to fix our problems... turn on the printing presses!

But the Chinese know better.

But forget the gov't. If a household knows times are that tough, what does a household do? It cuts spending. It's that simple. There are no sacred cows.

Anonymous said...

RE: Comment about "Obama Claus"--fuse was lit by "W" with his bailout of the auto and finance industries...I agree Ron Paul is the best canditate but he didn't get elected...(Registered Republican)

tim white said...

IMO, Bush deserves blame. But the bigger culprits are:

Nixon in 1971
FDR in 1933
Wilson in 1913

I'm not totally opposed to the existence of a central bank. But grow increasingly moreso as I continue to learn about economics / monetary policy.

tim white said...

And for fun...

"Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again."

Ben Bernanke to Milton Friedman, November 8, 2002

I understand Friedman wanted a stable money supply. So what does Helicopter Ben do? Double the money supply!

Genius. Pure genius.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the above list that needs to be done. None of the above will make our economy more competitive.

Most all of the above are also estimated at the high side to allow big profits.

One idea not mentioned was the extension of gas lines. This would help reduce the use of foreign oil and provide a cheaper form of energy for both commercial and residential.

Breachway said...

You forgot the turf