Archived Story

City Council mulls capital needs

Published 6:02pm Friday, November 23, 2012

The Washington City Council’s biggest challenge when it comes to the draft capital improvement and facility master plan it discussed Monday is paying for the projects in the $154.6 million plan during the next 20 years.
“You’ve got a 20-year outlook, from 2013 to 2033,” City Manager Josh Kay told the council. “It’s a big number — all funds, all departments — $154 million. Again, this is not one year. This is all 20 years.”
Kay described the draft plan as a good starting point when it comes to addressing the city’s capital-improvements and facilities needs.
“What I’ve asked our staff to do is look at the first year (2013). We’re going to refine our CIP forms to talk about what’s our impact on our customers. What’s our impact on our operating costs.” Kay said.
Later he noted, “We are running a business. We’ve got to make sure that our infrastructure is up to par and exceeds our customers’ expectations. That’s where I want to be at, but it costs money. A 20-year outlook — $154 million, almost $155 million, that’s a strong number. Some of that is not going to be paid for from rates or from our property taxes. Some of that is grants. Certainly, some of it will be loans. Some of it will be directly from our rate payers.”
Councilman Doug Mercer was happy to receive the draft plan.
“This is something that I’ve been looking for it seems like 10 years. Finally, someone has thought beyond how far they can see. We’re now getting to where we are thinking beyond how far we can throw,” Mercer said. “That’s what we’ve got to do. Now, that you’ve got the 2013 numbers, you’ve got to go through (them). There should be a very, very strong justification for every project that’s on that list.”
Council members made it clear that just because a project is in the draft plan for a specific fiscal year, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be funded during that fiscal year. Projects that can be delayed — without compromising the public’s safety — likely will be delayed when practical, they indicated.
In fiscal year 2013, the draft plan calls for spending $2.5 million on items such as a new fire engine, several vehicles for the Public Works Department and temporary light for the soccer fields at the McConnell Sports Complex.
In fiscal year 2015, the draft plan allocates $3 million toward a new police station, a project the city pursued for several years but put on hold a little more than a year ago.

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