NORTH ADAMS -- City Councilors gave their initial approval to borrowing $2.2 million for repairs from damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene and for a 2 percent raise for non-union city employees.
"There are seven areas of work in the city that needed repair after Tropical Storm Irene. The total cost of this work is estimated to be $2.155 million," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said. "We have three federal agencies that will be picking up 75 percent of the cost, which is $1.616 million, leaving the city's share at $538,852. These numbers are not etched in stone, but the city will only truly be borrowing $530,000 to $570,000."
Of the seven projects, he said repairs for three sites -- State Street, Reservoir Road and Daniels Road -- had already been completed by the city's Department of Public Works.
In addition, the mayor said repairs on West Shaft Road had already been put out to bid and are currently under way, while repairs to McCauley Road were expected to go out to bid later this week.
"The cost and scope of the work to repair damage to the Hoosic River, over on Avon Street, has changed since the water main break this weekend," Alcombright said. "I had also hoped to have good news for the residents of Crest Street, but the design plans have not been completed. It looks like even though we'll be able to go out to bid soon, we won't be able to do any work until the next construction season in March or April.
Crest Street suffered a washout near the intersection with Burnham Street that exposed a water main and will require slope stabilization work.
The mayor explained that while the city would be reimbursed 75 percent of the costs of the repairs, it needs to borrow the complete $2.2 million.
"I'm told by the federal agencies that payment will be made within 60 days from when we submit the bills," he said.
Councilor Marie Harpin questioned what the rate on the bond would most likely be, and Councilor Michael Bloom asked how long the term of the note would be.
"The interest rates are currently .7 percent to 1.1 percent," Alcombright said. "With road repairs, we can go out up to 10 years. Most of this will be paid back very quickly, but I believe we should go out as long as we can with this in order to pay our share back."
Harpin added that state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi would be at the council's Dec. 27 meeting to speak about an effort in the state Legislature to help pay a portion of the 25 percent of the cost falling to municipalities for the repair work.
The borrowing was unanimously passed to a second reading and to be published as required by law.
Councilors also unanimously passed a change to the city's compensation plan, which would grant non-union employees a 2 percent raise, beginning on Jan. 1, to a second reading and to be published as required by law.
Alcombright said that while the raise was modest, costing $24,000 during the remainder of fiscal 2012, it would help out non-union employees who were going into a third budget cycle without a raise. The raises were also referred to the Finance Committee, which will meet at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19.
"There is no retroactivity included in this package," the mayor said. "While its not as much as we would like to do, it will buffer the increases in health insurance these individuals have seen in the last two budget cycles."
Funding for the raises will come from the city's unclassified reserve account.
In other action, the council set a public hearing for a request by National Grid to place poles, wires and fixtures on Barbour Street Extension for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27 and approved a street address sign for Berkshire Emporium and Antiques. Councilors David Bond and Keith Bona abstained from the vote on the sign.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email