When Will Work on the Water Project Be Happening On My Street?

The projected work schedule for the phase 3 water system improvement project in Hamilton, which will run from August through December 2017 with final paving in May 2018. All dates are subject to change

Lincoln Avenue: Aug. 14 – Sept. 11, 2017

Union Street: Aug. 14 – Sept. 18, 2017

Day Avenue: Aug. 30 – Sept. 18, 2017

Lorenzo Street: Sept. 8 – Sept. 20, 2017

Western Avenue: Sept. 12 – Sept. 28, 2017

Willow Street: Sept. 15 – Oct. 12, 2017

Roosevelt Avenue: Sept. 22 – Oct. 2, 2017

Central Avenue: Sept. 29 – Oct. 11, 2017

Cummings Avenue: Oct. 3 – Oct. 20, 2017

Moynihan Road: Oct. 3 – Nov. 1, 2017

Railroad Avenue: Oct. 5 – Nov. 3, 2017

Pleasant Street: Oct. 11 – Nov. 13, 2017

Elliot Street: Oct. 13 – Nov. 20, 2017

Home Street: Oct. 17 – Dec. 1, 2017

Honeysuckle Road: Oct. 18 – Nov. 20, 2017

Naples Road: Oct. 23 – Dec. 15, 2017

Red Coach Road: Oct. 26 – Dec. 4, 2017

Savoy Road: Oct. 26 – Dec. 27, 2017

Howard Street: Nov. 1 – Nov. 9, 2017

Madonna Drive: Nov. 2 – Dec. 15, 2017

Lois Street: Nov. 13 – Nov. 21, 2017

Essex Street: Nov. 22 – Dec. 19, 2017

Anthony Road: Dec. 8 – Dec. 27, 2017

Chebacco Road: Dec. 20, 2017 – Jan. 2, 2018

Final road paving for entire project: May, 7 – May, 25, 2018

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Third Phase of Water Improvement Project Starts Monday

drop-of-water-545377_1920.jpgThe third phase of improvements to the Hamilton water system will start next Monday, Aug. 14. The work is scheduled to last until late December with final paving scheduled for spring 2018.

One crew will start near Lincoln Avenue and Asbury Street and a second crew will start work on Union Street on Monday, Aug. 14 and will be there through mid-September.

In September, work will move to Western, Roosevelt and Central avenues and last through Oct. 11.

At the start of October, work will start on Moynihan Road and then move to Honeysuckle and Red Coach roads then to Madonna Drive and Anthony Road, with work in those areas lasting until late December.

Starting in November, work will also happen on Essex Street near Woodbury Street and on Chebacco Road.

Later, phase 3 work will also occur on Elliott, Home, Howard, Lois, Lorenzo, Pleasant and Willow streets, Cummings and Railroad avenues and Naples and Savoy roads.

A complete scheduled of the planned work, with a complete list of all the streets where work will occur and the scheduled dates, is available here.

The contractor for the water main replacement work will be Robert B. Our Co. Inc. Work hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and work in front of any one property could take 1-2 days – at which time most of the road and/or driveway could be blocked during the day.

The entire schedule is subject to change and residents along the roads planned for water main construction will receive a construction notice at least one week before it starts with the projected work dates in the area of their property and the project length, said Hamilton DPW Director Tim Olson.

Residents near the project area are encouraged to move their vehicle out of the work area before work starts in the morning to make sure they have access to their car during the day.

At the end of each work day, the excavation will be backfilled or covered and there will be access at night.

The contractor has also reminded residents in the project area that excavation, construction noise and construction equipment will be in the street during construction hours.

Town’s Top Bond Rating Reaffirmed, Secures Low Interest Rates

aaa credit rating

The town’s bond rating has been reaffirmed as AAA by Standard and Poor’s. It is the highest rating possible.

Each time a bond is issued by the town, its credit rating is reviewed and evaluated by Standard & Poor’s to determine if they will make adjustments, according to Town Manager Michael Lombardo.

The reaffirmed AAA rating came after a recent conference call involving representatives from Standard & Poor’s along with Hamilton Finance Director Marisa Batista, Treasurer/Collector Cheryl Booth, Lombardo and bond counsel from FirstSouthwest.

The conference call was a way for town leaders to highlight the factors that contribute to the town’s high bond rating and reassure the rating agency that the town government continues to deserve AAA status, according to Lombardo.

“I feel the conference call went very well,” Lombardo told the Board of Selectmen in a recent update. “S&P was impressed with the stability of the town budget and management, strong reserves, excess levy capacity of over $2.4 million, and strong market sale prices for single family homes.”

The town sought a new bond rating as its goes out for bonds to fund land acquisition and water system improvements, which have both been previously approved by Town Meeting voters.

The AAA rating means that the town government pays the lowest interest rates possible when borrowing money, Lombardo said. Additionally, the AAA rating also makes the town’s bonds highly desirable in the investment community. For example, for the most recent issuance, the town received 25 bids. And in addition to getting low interest rates, the town sometimes receives direct cash in the form of a bond premium, Lombardo said. In 2015, the town issued $7 million in bonds and received over $200,000 as a bond premium.

In Standard & Poor’s rating, it said that it believes Hamilton can maintain better credit characteristics than the nation in a stress scenario. Hamilton has a very high general fund balance as a percent of expenditures and very strong liquidity, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The rating also took into consideration what Standard & Poor’s said is Hamilton’s very strong economy, strong management, strong budgetary performance, very strong budgetary flexibility with an available fund balance in fiscal year 2016 of 18% of operating expenditures, very strong liquidity and a very strong debt and contingent liability position.

Water Service Cut on Woodland Mead on Tuesday Morning as Part of Replacement Project

The water service has been shut off on Woodland Mead on Tuesday morning, May 12, as part of the ongoing water main replacement project.

The Hamilton Water Department apologizes for the inconvenience and hopes to have it back on at some point on Tuesday morning.

Woodland Mead gate

Water Rate Increase First in Seven Years, Funds Voter-Approved System Improvements

The bills that arrived in the mailboxes of Hamilton water customers in recent days reflect new water rates that were approved in February. It is the first hike in the water bills since 2008 and the rates are still below many surrounding communities. Hamilton town officials do not anticipate having to increase the rates again for several years.

Water Faucet

The new rates are a combination of a flat rate service charge and a usage charge. The service charge – which has gone from $20 to $60 – is an equal charge to all water customers and covers the debt payments for the cost of upgrading the water plant and distribution system. The usage fee covers the cost to operate the system, according to Finance Director Deborah Nippes-Mena. Currently, the town has bonding for $5 million – approved by voters in 2012 – to pay for water system improvements. Much of that work has been completed.

The annual debt payment for the water system in fiscal year 2016 is $609,713, which is up from $159,000. Older debt for water plant and filter system upgrades will be completed by the time bond payments for Phase II, approved at the Annual Town Meeting in April this year, will be bonded in 2019-20.

It is possible that new housing developments could become a large enough customer base to absorb the additional cost for Phase II.

Unlike the service charge, the usage charge depends on how much water is used and the rate goes up as more water is used. The water system’s operating budget, which is funded by the usage charge, has been growing 3 percent annually, largely because of increased pension and health insurance costs, according to Nippes-Mena.

The Hamilton Board of Selectmen approved the new water rates during a vote on Feb. 5, with an effective date of Jan. 23, which was a few days after a public hearing about the new rates.

The new, higher water rates were discussed at several public meetings, where it was explained that the additional revenue was needed to support the growing cost to operate the water system and the new debt payments for water distribution system improvements. In addition to discussion at several Board of Selectmen meetings during the past two years, the new rates have been discussed at Town Meetings in 2012 and 2015 when voters were asked to approve borrowing money for the water distribution upgrade.