YPFI: Road maintenance agreements save taxpayer money

Gates highway crews do paving work on Monroe County road in North Greece. It's part of an agreement with towns and villages which help the county maintain 662 miles of roadway (WHAM photo)

Gates, N.Y. (WHAM) - It's summer - and in the Rochester region, that usually means road work season. For the next two weeks, homeowners on Kirk Road in North Greece will put up with closures and delays.

Rich Gaenzler has noticed something new.

“I thought it was a little weird. I was wondering why Gates trucks were out here,” Gaenzler said.

In a You Paid for It report, 13WHAM learned it is part of an agreement that saves taxpayer money.

Highway workers from the Town of Gates have taken over the paving project on the road which is owned by Monroe County. Shared agreements with towns and villages help the county maintain 662 miles of roadway.

“The county doesn’t have the people and the equipment to do all the work necessary,” said Gates Supervisor Mark Assini. “If it wasn’t done by the municipality, it would have to be done by the private sector - typically at a higher price.”

Instead, Monroe County pays Gates directly for the work - a contract typically worth $100,000 to $150,000 per year.

“It makes money for the Town of Gates and we roll that money back into the roads,” said Assini.

Gates keeps its expensive equipment and workforce busy between projects on town roads. It has similar contracts with New York State for plowing, which can put as much as $300,000 back into the town’s budget in a snowy year.

Monroe County says the program dates back to the 1930s. Tight budgets have towns and villages also looking for more recent ways to share services and costs.

Gates, for example, shares a building inspector with the Town of Greece, and an assessor with the Town of Chili.

And while the arrangements aren’t exactly new, the cost savings come as a surprise to some taxpayers.

“It makes sense to me, any way you can save money,” said Gaenzler. "It doesn’t sound like something they would normally do.”

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