On the road to recovery in Fairfield, thanks to some hard work and some outside help


FAIRFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some good news for the Town of Fairfield. It appears flood repairs are going to be less expensive for the town than first thought.

Town officials planned on borrowing between $90,000 and $120,000 from the bank to repair damaged roads. It turns out the cost will be much less and the town won't have to get the bank involved at all.

A special meeting to discuss the matter was held Wednesday evening inside the Fairfield Community Hall. "Rather than borrowing money from the bank we can borrow internally from one of our other funds," said Fairfield Town Supervisor Hank Crofoot. Fairfield officials will borrow money from the "townwide General Fund" to pay for repairing the roads.

The amount the town needs to borrow has gone down to an estimated $34,000 thanks to some outside help. "The biggest thing has been the help that we received from other municipalities and the State of New York," said Crofoot. "It helps that we've been going to every meeting that has been held for the past two and a half weeks. It's a lot of personal contacts and asking people for the help."

The Town Outside Highway Department Account is not empty but it does not have enough to cover all of the costs.

The state has stepped up and offered to do the labor to replace three new larger culverts on Lynch Road, Myers Road and Kelly Road. The call came as a huge relief to a worn out highway department. "It's just been a continuous battle and we no more get them done, we get another rain and start all over," said William Dillenbeck, Highway Superintendent for the Town of Fairfield. He's been on the job for 38 years and this is the worst damage he's seen. "I don't think anybody around here has seen the water flow like we have in the last month."

The Town of Fairfield still has to buy the culverts but the state's help adds up to at least 50 thousand dollars. "That was a big savings to us, not to do all that work. Plus, they are furnishing the materials and the manpower and equipment and they're doing a fine job," said Dillenbeck.

The town has already spent tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs to the roads. "We're hoping that we'll be able to turn in our sheets with what we've spent so far," said Crofoot. "If we can turn that in that will be a big help and then this other money going down the road we will apply for as we get it done."

"If you figure equipment labor and material that we've used..we're well over hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Dillenbeck.

The total damage to the roadways is hard to calculate. "Talking with some of the engineers with the damage that we had with what we've done and lost we could be looking anywhere from $600,000 to $800,000 but with their (the state) help and with FEMA, we can come out of it ok," said Dillenbeck.

Including Dillenbeck, the Fairfield Town Highway Department has a total of four employs. They along with workers from neighboring departments have replaced many of these culverts several times over the past few weeks.

The culvert pipes that the state is working to replace will be twice as large as the previous ones. Those three pipes alone cost $46,000.

The town is expecting FEMA money and when that comes in they will replace the borrowed money into the general fund, hopefully, by the end of the year.

"By borrowing from ourselves we're saving many thousands of dollars and also from the help that we are getting that all adds up to a big savings for the Town of Fairfield," said Crofoot.

Crofoot says worst case scenario, if the FEMA money does not arrive by the end of the year, tax payers with a $100,000 assessment will see a one time $48 tax increase.

Town officials will be meeting with FEMA officials for the first time Thursday morning.

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