Dear NYRWA Members:
As you may have heard, NY State Senator James Tedisco is sponsoring a Bill S3292/A3907 to create the Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program (SWAP).
Although New York has made available capital funding for water infrastructure in the FY 2017 budget that addresses capital projects, replacement and upgrading critical infrastructure, we all know this does not address the underlying issue of increasing maintenance requirements and operating expenses.
As you will learn more and read, there have been calls for a more permanent source of funding for our infrastructure, one that addresses and supports O & M activities that being SWAP. The Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program (SWAP) is designed to provide municipalities with water, sewer and storm water infrastructure, an annual supplemental funding stream to support operation and maintenance activities. Just like the successful Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), municipalities would know what their annual SWAP allotment would be. This would afford your municipality the opportunity to perform maintenance and/or replacement, which can be performed by your staff. These would be smaller projects such as equipment replacements, manhole rehabilitation or water line replacement.
We will be starting an aggressive campaign in hopes of having this Bill passed. Next week you will receive a mailing and we ask that you take time out of your busy schedules to help with a letter writing campaign to your NYS Legislators in support of S3292/A3907. The mailing to you will include a sample letter for your convenience, a brief summary of the Bill, and instructions to help navigate to your State Senator and State Assembly Representative website for contact information for this campaign. It takes all of our voices working together to get the job done.
If you need any assistance or wish to discuss this further, please reach out to the New York Rural Water Association. Other organizations that are also supporting this include NY Section AWWA, NYWEA and the Association of Towns. Let’s all do our part.
J. Andrew Herman, CEO