City looks at capital improvements ahead of budget workshop

Matt Algarin

When it comes to the city’s 5-year capital improvement plan, there are plenty of needs, but the same can’t be said for funding.

Many of the projects the city has identified have no funding sources available, City Manager Maryann Ustick said.

As for the dollars and cents, the city is projected to have about $1,272,000 available for capital improvement projects for fiscal year 2015, which comes from gas tax, transportation impact fees, recreation impact fees and other sources such as grants.

The actual plan itself is divided into different categories: transportation; community redevelopment areas; physical environment; municipal government; and recreation.

The greatest financial impact on the proposed plan was for transportation projects, which includes resurfacing and reconstruction of new roads; pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, and transit related items; and multi-modal pathways and sidewalks. There are currently three projects on the books, which total $1,062,000.

Originally city leaders had planned to resurface Indian Trail, but after some discussion, they decided that it made more sense to finish work along Kelly Street. Currently there is no cost estimate on finishing this project.

“I wish the other council members would ride this (Indian Trail) and see if they feel the same way,” Councilman Tuffy Dixon said. “If I had to give it a grade, I’d give it a C. Kelly Street is an F.”

The other two projects are along Hutchinson Street and Calhoun Avenue.

The remaining three projects on the city’s capital improvement budget include $50,000 for technology infrastructure, stormwater improvements in Indian Bayou and drainage improvements in Heritage Run totaling $160,000.

The stormwater improvements were something that city leaders became well aware of after the heavy rains that flooded parts of the city. Just rattling off some numbers, city engineer David Campbell said it would cost upwards of $3 million to complete all of the projects throughout the city.

“As you know, our city is old. A lot of it was built before the Clean Water Act,” he said. “So, we have a lot of areas in our city we need to treat.”

In addition to stormwater issues, Campbell also told the council that there are concerns with dams that need to be addressed.

Councilman Rodney Braden said he can attest to the dam issues, having personally caught a few beavers near his home.

City leaders will talk more about the capital improvement plan and the budget during upcoming meetings. A budget workshop is scheduled for Aug. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex. This meeting is open to the public.