Aldermen Okay Funds to Fix Broken Culvert

Members of Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s administration appeared before the Board of Aldermen Monday night to request an emergency declaration over a broken drainage culvert in the area of Boston Market Terminal, near the New England Produce Center, which is endangering the health and safety of residents and businesses in the immediate area and beyond.

According to assistant city solicitor David Rodrigues, who was joined by City Services Director Peter Pietrantonio and engineer Donald Freeman of CDM Smith Engineering, a 35-foot section of drainage culvert at the Boston Market Terminal property, which the city admits it owns, has completely collapsed and is now blocking the flow of all storm water through the system.

Rodrigues and Pietrantonio told the board that the city is in danger of having rain water flooding through the neighborhoods and potentially even compromising the city’s sewer system, which could ultimately lead to sewer back ups in homes and  unsafe health conditions, if the culvert is not repaired as soon as possible.

Pietrantonio and Freeman went so far as to say that the culvert in question is actually fed by much of the city’s drainage infrastructure, so a continued blockage at that spot could lead to greater flooding across much of the city.

Seeking to avoid such a calamity, the Board voted unanimously to declare the situation an emergency, which allows the city to ask the Department of Revenue for leeway in utilizing city funds to make an emergency repair of the system and determine how it will repay itself for the repairs at a later date.

However, on a vote to authorize the spending of $573,950 of city funds to repairs the 35-foot section of culvert that is currently collapsed, Alderman Michael Marchese voted in opposition, citing the fact that he is concerned that by fixing this section of pipe now, the city will wind up assuming responsibility for the entire drainage culvert: something he would like to see the city avoid, since the ownership of the drainage culvert is currently being disputed by the property owners of Boston Market Terminal the City of Chelsea and the City of Everett.

“I don’t have a problem fixing the pipe,” said Marchese, in voting against the authorization of expenditure. “I just want to make sure that we’re not on the hook to fix the whole thing later on.”

According to Rodrigues and Pietrantonio, the city will conform to state purchasing laws in getting a vendor on board to complete the emergency repairs. The emergency declaration and expenditure authorization, simply gives the city the ability to use existing from another line item and then determine how to replenish those funds at a later time, such as through a bond issuance or transfer from the reserve account, depending on what is in the best long-term interests of the city.

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