Council delays CIP review

Published 9:12 pm Saturday, February 28, 2015

Washington’s City Council will meet in a special session to discuss the city’s Capital Improvements Plan.

The council was scheduled to discuss the plan during its meeting last week, but it opted for the special session. The date and time for that special session will be announced later.

Because major capital projects affect the city’s budgets, city officials keep close track on them while preparing those budgets.

“I’ve had a couple of comments from council members that have asked that we pull that and make a special meeting to go through that at a separate time. … We’re glad to go over it now. It might take us a while. My indication from a couple of council members is they would rather do that at a separate meeting and have that narrowed down before we go into budget,” City Manager Brian Alligood said during the meeting.

Alligood reminded the council it’s taken two approaches to the CIP. One approach is to “put this out and it’s been approved, and then, as we went into budget, we narrowed it down as to what funding to do.” He also said the council has taken “the opposite way and put it in budget and worked within.”

Mayor Mac Hodges said he wanted to “push it back” because he had questions concerning several items in the CIP.

Councilman Bobby Roberson said he wants the special meeting held within the next two weeks.

The plan addresses major expenditures such as new vehicles, stormwater (drainage) projects, water and sewer projects and computer hardware and software upgrades or replacements. The council decides which proposed projects receiving funding, whether a project will be completed in phases and when a project begins.

The CIP for the next five fiscal years (2015-2016 through 2019-2020) calls for spending $2.78 million for public-safety (police and fire). Among the proposed expenditures is buying a new fire engine for an estimated $450,000 in fiscal year 2016-2017. The new fire engine would replace the 1988 fire engine. The plan also calls for spending $450,000 in the next fiscal year for a new fire engine to replace the 1996 fire engine. Another $450,000 is earmarked in 2019-2020 for a new fire engine to replace the 2000 fire engine.

The plan also calls for replacing two EMS units at a cost of $310,000 during the five-year period.

Under the plan, $723,000 would be spend during the five fiscal years to replace police vehicles, with an average of $144,600 spent each year during the five-year period.

As for the city’s planning department projects, the plan includes installing Wi-Fi along the city’s waterfront at a cost of $30,000 in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Overall, the cost for proposed CIP general fund projects for the next five fiscal years totals $7.34 million.

The public-works section of the CIP earmarks $5.7 million in fiscal year 2016-2017 for drainage improvements and the second phase of stormwater improvements in the Jack’s Creek basin. It also earmarks $1.8 million for removing trash from Jack’s Creek in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

During the five-year period, the CIP earmarks $6.3 million for sewer-related improvements and equipment purchases.

Overall, the CIP calls for spending $20.9 million on public-works projects during the five-year period.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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