Consultant provides updates on grant-funding usage on city of Cortland infrastructure projects

A consultant who manages the grant funds for city infrastructure construction in Cortland provided updates on the financial breakdown of some of the projects at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

Scott Burto, owner of WCP Consultants, revealed the current status of grant funding that covers infrastructure projects for Greenbush and Washington Streets, the Clinton Avenue Gateway Project and the southside drainage replacement on Owego Street.

For Greenbush and Washington Streets, a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant was in place to cover the cost of a project that would provide upgrades to each of the street’s water lines, which are adjacent to Clinton Avenue.

Burto, however, noted the project ended up being “well under budget.” The total cost of the project was $320,874.16. Burto added the remaining grant funds were used for the workforce in the city’s department of public works.

“We thought this was a way to put money back in the budget and bring in some of the revenue so the work would be in-house,” Burto said. Burto is referring to the cutbacks in the city’s DPW suffered near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The city (DPW) workers did a majority of the work (on Greenbush and Washington Streets) outside of tree removal and sidewalk repair,” Burto said.

As for the Clinton Avenue Gateway Project, Burto said the total cost of the project is tentatively $9,088,000. To date, $4,633,000 has been spent on the project through six different grant programs.

The grants through this project will cover environmental, water and stormwater side projects, green infrastructure, sewer separation, bike lanes, road pavement, sidewalk repair and more.

Further construction in the Clinton Avenue Gateway Project will take a pause during the winter months and pick up in the spring, Burto said.

The compiled cost of the southside drainage area on Owego Street is set at $1.4 million, Burto said. With the project in the beginning stages, Burto noted so far $518,974.7 through grant funding has been spent on labor and equipment costs.

“A number of these projects were done in-house (at city DPW) to get the work done,” Burto added. He added the project on Owego Street will continue in the spring.

Councilperson Bruce Tytler (D-3rd Ward) asked Burto if “they see a lot of other communities being able to reimburse their own workers with this grant money rather than contracting the work out.”

“I don’t because a number of communities don’t have the workforce that can do this type of work,” Burto replied. “It’s impressive for local DPW workers to install their own water lines, drainage pipes and culverts in-house.”

Tytler praised Cortland’s DPW for the work they’ve done so far on each of these projects.

“The community should be proud of our folks at DPW,” he said.