Feds to Saugerties: any Persians in the portfolio?

How did they know? (photo by Will Dendis)

The village of Saugerties has been told that if it has any investments in Iran, it must divest itself from those investments if it wants to see any state and federal money for the long-overdue streetscape project planned for downtown.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Alex Wade, special assignments coordinator for the village, submitted a report to village trustees that says the contract for the streetscape project requires the village to comply with sanctions against, as former President George Bush called them, “the evil doers,” before any state or federal money will flow into the village for the project.

Of course, the village has no such investments, but the latest chapter in the ongoing effort to get funding for long-planned improvements to village streets underscores the tedious, sometimes bizarre process small communities go through to shore up federal funding.

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The streetscape improvement project, which calls for improved crosswalks, curbing and ramps at many of the intersections along Main and Partition Streets, has been in the planning and contract signing stage for more than three years. But, Wade believes there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and the village will soon be able to go to bid on the project, with work to begin in the spring.

Eventual cost of the project is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $873,000, of which most will come from the state Department of Transportation and the federal government (hence the ‘evil-doers’ clause). The local share, so far, has been $10,300, Wade said.

In its most recent letter to the village, the state said that it is removing about 15 percent of the state aid portion of construction costs because it has eliminated funding for purchase of any right-of-ways that might be needed. There will be no need to purchase any right-of-ways, Wade explained.

However, that loss of 15 percent, Wade said, is offset by the state’s estimate that the project will cost about $160,000 less than anticipated.

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