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Village hires Burley for $100 an hour to identify potential projects

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MASSENA — Village trustees voted 3-2 to hire Timothy A. Burley, an engineer with C2AE, Canton, at a rate of $100 per hour to help identify potential infrastructure projects that could be paid for using a new incentive program that would cover 90 percent of the projects’ costs.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said a new incentive program focusing on green projects could provide funding for numerous projects in the village.

He said the program comes at the same time the village could receive funding for improvements in the Parker Avenue vicinity. He said he had applied for funding from the state Safe Drinking Water Act a few months ago.

“Recently I’ve been notified by the DEC that we’re reachable,” he said, noting that in the past the village has been unsuccessful in receiving those grants.

“My intent is to increase the size of the trunk main from Dairy Queen to East Orvis Street,” Mr. Fayad said.

And he said the Green Incentive program could provide funding for a project that would remove rainwater from the storm sewer: “We may be able to eliminate infiltration upstream of Parker Avenue/Route 37.”

“What you’re going to do is take a handful of mud, throw it at the wall and see what sticks,” Mr. Fayad said. “We’ll take 15 projects and maybe 10 of them will stick.”

Trustee Francis J. Carvel said he wants to know if there are any other engineers who could do work for the village.

“The last two projects with him haven’t had good results,” he said.

Mr. Fayad said that was irrelevant, noting that in this case Mr. Burley will simply be writing grant applications and identifying projects that could be funded. He said Mr. Burley also would be reaching out to Albany to gain additional information about the new program.

“We have to identify it first and then we’ll have a project,” he said. “I think it would be very wise for us to retain Tim and have him walk us through this process.”

Former St. Lawrence County Legislator R. Shawn Gray, Massena, suggested the village should check into whether Mr. Burley is doing similar work for other municipalities in the area before buying into the $100-per-hour fee.

“If he’s working for five municipalities, that’s $500 per hour,” Mr. Gray said. “Perhaps a lower rate of pay could be negotiated.”

Trustee Patricia K. Wilson made the motion to hire Mr. Burley, which was seconded by Timothy J. Ahlfeld. Mayor James F. Hidy also supported the measure, with Mr. Carvel and Trustee Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies voting against it.

The board agreed to pay Mr. Burley for up to 50 hours of work and told Mr. Fayad he would have to return to the board before additional work would be funded.

Mr. Fayad had suggested the 50-hour cap might be appropriate and told the board the $100-per-hour fee for an engineer was very reasonable.

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