DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

October 31, 2013

Little change in Public Works budget

Public works budget should be stable

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — The Public Works department won’t see big changes in next year’s budget numbers.

That, according to director Janusz Czyzowski, will keep his department’s spending in check, but won’t deter efforts to do the best job for the town.

“It’s pretty much identical to last year, except for our contractual services,” he said.

Czyzowski recently appeared before the town’s Budget Committee to give an early look at the fiscal year 2015 budget. Although numbers are still be finalized, the bottom line won’t change much.

Londonderry’s Public Works division also oversees highway, engineering and environmental services.

Those areas for next year remain similar to last year’s spending plan as well.

Maintaining the town’s 180 miles of roads can prove challenging, Czyzowksi said, and often how much money is spent depends on the weather.

The town has a Road Maintenance Fund that supports major road projects and infrastructure repairs. Last year, voters approved $500,000 to support the fund. Another shot at putting money in the fund may come before voters next March.

“We’re trying to get to a million,” Czyowski said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re climbing to it.”

How much the town spends on salt is another area relying heavily on the weather report.

“Costs can change every day, depending on the weather, Czyowski said. “It’s one of the biggest items I think.”

The town saved some money on its salt use and had leftovers last year, but went over budget with fuel last year.

“It varies, it depends on how much we have to drive,” he said.

Czyowski said one of his main concerns is the status of the Public Works garage and its condition. He said there is a desperate need for improvements and upgrades.

That project has been on the radar for a long time, he said.

“We’ve been wanting and begging since 1988 to do improvements to the garage,” he said. “For maintaining 180 miles of roads and 4,000 streets, (the garage) is nothing very impressive.”

He said the department would like to build a lean-to structure onto the main building. There is also storage needed for the town’s salt.

Public Works upgrades to facilities could be done in phases, Czyowski said.

As part of the early budget work in town, officials also heard details earlier this year on upcoming capital improvement, or CIP, projects.

Department heads gave the town wish lists of things that fall under the CIP structure and projects were rated by priority and need.

Projects making it high on the list for funding are school paving projects and fire station upgrades.

“It should be an exciting year for CIP projects,” Budget Committee Chairman Christopher Melcher said.

More finalized Public Works numbers will come before Town Council at a meeting Nov. 4. Town Manager Kevin Smith is scheduled to present town budget information to councilors to help kick off the budget season.

After that, the council will host workshops and public hearing prior to the deliberative session in February.