PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The airport is expected to be shut down for 85 days this spring for the reconstruction of the main runway.
The City Council's Finance Subcommittee voted affirmatively on the borrowing to repave both of the airport's runways. The total project will cost $6.9 million, which is 95 percent paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration. The city's cost will be $349,735.
"We are required to authorize the entire project amount and that is reduced by any grants that come in to support the project," Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood said.
Airport Commission Chairman Tom Sakshaug said the airport will be completely shut down on April 30. The main runway will be paved. The smaller runway will be done right after and will be shut down for an additional 55 days.
Sakshaug said the Airport Commission had a number of possibilities but ultimately decided to do the paving all at once.
The project has been a long time coming. At one point it had been included in the massive airport extension project but got pulled from that scope. In fiscal 2016, the City Council approved $3.5 million for the paving. But, then prices were estimated to come in higher. In fiscal 2017, the City Council authorized another $2.6 million.
"It was clear that the original $3.5 [million] plus the $2.6 [million] were not enough," Kerwood said.
Kerwood said since then the engineering has been completed and the bids for construction came in at $6.9 million and the two authorizations were at $6.1 million. The subcommittee approved combining both of those authorizations and then increasing the total.
The finance director added that in the future, administrators will wait until having a final price with the FAA before asking for an authorization — thus avoiding revisiting the authorization multiple times.
Meanwhile, the airport is also set to host two solar arrays. With Oak Leaf Energy Partners, the committee agreed to a 30-year lease, 20 in the initial term and followed by two five-year extensions. The agreement would bring between of $3.1 million and $6.8 million to the airport in lease payments and $6.5 million to the city for tax payments.
Consultant Beth Greenblatt said the agreement is in place, but the actual total will depend on when the state approves the tax incentives. Greenblatt said the state's Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program — which replaced the SREX tax incentives — is based more on timing that it is revenue. She said there are various blocks.
Once a block is filled up, the next block provides lower incentives. Greenblatt has agreements in place with Oak Leaf for three different blocks, depending on where it falls in the program.
"It is less of a technical issue but more of a timing issue to when the project qualifies under the smart program," Greenblatt said.
Assessor Paula King said, "We're not really estimating. We are just giving you the different scenarios ... these are hard numbers but it depends on what block we enter into."
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Pittsfield City Council Say Goodbye to Outgoing Members
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council held its last meeting of 2019 on Tuesday and said goodbye to four members who will not be returning in 2020.
Before the closing of the meeting, Council President Peter Marchetti thanked Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers, Ward 6 Councilor John Krol, Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli, and Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo for their service and presented them with a plaque.
"I wish the four of you good luck in your future endeavors," he said.
Marchetti gave each council member a moment to say a few words and Krol, who was elected in 2009, took time to thank his family and constituents.
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Councilors swiftly approved the use of an additional $1 million in free cash to offset the tax rate and set a residential tax rate of $19.71 and a commercial rate of $40.36, per $1,000 valuation.
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Rumlow was appointed interim CEO and executive director in May after Randy Kinnas, the nonprofit's CEO for the last 19 years, moved on as director of Member Advancement for the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs. click for more