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Ogdensburg fixing more streets with CHIPs hike

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The city of Ogdensburg will be able to improve more streets this year due to an increase in funding from the state Consolidated Highway Improvement Program. The new state budget’s $438 million CHIPs fund - $75 million more than 2012 - means more for cities, towns and villages. Ogdensburg will receive $319,696, a 24 percent, or $61,296, increase over its $258,399 allocation from last year.

City Public Works Director Kit Smith, who has more than 100 miles of streets and lanes to maintain, isn’t complaining.

“Anytime you get an increase in funding, it’s a positive factor,” he said Wednesday.

Year after year, street resurfacing is the department’s big-ticket summer project. In good years with sufficient CHIPs funds and decent weather, city can take care of up to 30 blocks.

But, according to Mr. Smith, the steady rise in recent years of the cost of asphalt and other road-building materials have had their toll as the annual CHIPs appropriations have stayed flat.

“We’ve had to scale back,” he said.

In scaling back, Mr. Smith said, the crews that once routinely managed to resurface up to 30 blocks each summer have in recent years been able to get between 20 and 22 blocks before the CHIPs money runs out.

Mr. Smith said the extra $61,296 is a start in getting back to handling a standard summer workload.

“We should be able to do 25 blocks this year,” he said.

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