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Some Capital Projects Can't Wait

CAPITAL-MTAEvery August, before budget discussions begin in earnest for the following fiscal year, City staff present a Capital Improvements Plan to the City Council. The plan identifies high-priority infrastructure projects, and vehicle and facility and provides cost estimates. At the August 10 meeting, City Planner Christian Miller presented the 2012-2016 CIP, which is assembled with input from every City department. The number of projects is 50, the price tag $40 million. The funding pie chart showed that 21% would come from the General Revenue Fund, 13% from Debt, and the lion’s share, 66% from Grants and Aid.

Every August, before budget discussions begin in earnest for the following fiscal year, City staff present a Capital Improvements Plan to the City Council. The plan identifies high-priority infrastructure projects, and vehicle and facility and provides cost estimates. At the August 10 meeting, City Planner Christian Miller presented the 2012-2016 CIP, which is assembled with input from every City department. The number of projects is 50, the price tag $40 million. The funding pie chart showed that 21% would come from the General Revenue Fund, 13% from Debt, and the lion’s share, 66% from Grants and Aid.

 

In descending order, Transportation accounts for $17 million, Flood Management $12.6 million, Recreation $5.6 million, Vehicles and Equipment $4.2 million, Building $2.8 million, Sewers $1 million, and Drainage $1 million. Services make up the remaining million.


“We have to sharpen our pencils,” said Mr. Miller, “to keep General Revenue Funds to a minimum. The plan includes carryover projects and deferring projects is not a sustainable program.”

 

CAPITAL-MTAAmong the high-priority roadwork projects are the MTA parking lot, the Boston Post Road retaining wall, and the Theodore Fremd/Purdy avenue intersection.

 

The Locust Avenue Sewer Siphon provides sewers to the entire Central Business District, and has become increasingly difficult to maintain. The City has EPA funding for the Hewlett Avenue Pump Station but still needs a local match.

 

The new projects include improvements at the Fireman’s Memorial roundabout, the Five Corners intersection (Midland/ Grace Church), and further traffic and safety measures at Osborn School. “We’re still evaluating the effect of the road diet,” said Mr. Miller.

 

In downtown, reconstruction of Purchase Street, a widening of Theodore Fremd at Purchase and Purdy to allow a designated left-hand turn lane, and pedestrian safety improvements at Smith Street and Elm Place top the list. “We want to at least fund the design of the Purchase Street improvements in 2012.”

 

A Police/Court renovation and a new HVAC for City Hall, which still operates with the original system from 1964, are the primary projects.

 

Many of the projects are deemed “high priority” — some “urgent”: Sidewalks and Curbing, the Bowman Avenue Sluice Gate, the Boston Post Road Retaining Wall, Purchase Street Roundabout, the Elm/Smith Intersection, and the First/Second Street Parking Lot.

 

As noted in the CIP, the Rye City School District has an impact on the City’s capital program. “Their facilities generate demand for off-site improvements such as traffic and pedestrian safety, parking and other infrastructure improvements that are predominantly funded by the City. “

 

When asked by the Council whether a bond would be needed in order to accomplish some of the projects, City Manager Scott Pickup said, “That’s a fair assessment.”

 

Input from the public is encouraged. The next City Council meeting is September 14.

 

By Robin Jovanovich

 


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