Capital improvements, EMS on radar for city officials

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Updating Washington’s capital-improvements plan is key part of the City Council’s process to develop the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, according to City Manager Bobby Roberson.

The 2017-2018 budget takes effect July 1. The city’s capital-improvements plan provides a prioritized timeline for major construction projects and major equipment purchases, usually on a short-term to long-term schedule. Inclusion in the CIP does not guarantee a project or equipment purchase eventually receives funding.

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

CIP expenditures include new public-safety vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances, expansion of existing utilities facilities or construction of new facilities and building new power lines.

“What we’re going to do is I’m planning to do the five-year, 15- and 20-year projection on it. This current plan that we have, this is the last year on the current plan. What I hope to do is initiate another five-year (short-term) plan,” Roberson said.

Roberson said a new police station would be included in the new CIP. “We hope it’s two years out,” he said about that project’s timeline.

Last year, the city revived its effort to find a site for a new police station after that effort was dormant for several years.

CIP requests and supporting data are due to Roberson on Monday. CIP templates were distributed to the city’s management team at the end of November 2016.

Roberson said the city is keeping a close eye on what the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners decide regarding providing EMS coverage to Washington Township, which includes the Old Ford and Clark’s Neck fire districts. Last year, the board voted to end its contract with the city to provide EMS coverage to those areas. That decision raised concerns among people, including some residents’ concern that positioning a county EMS unit at the Old Ford Volunteer Fire Department would increase response times to the more populous U.S. Highway 264 corridor west of the city.

“The big thing for us on the budget is we’re still sort of in limbo (over the EMS coverage issue), and, hopefully, they’ll get something resolved (Tuesday night) over at the county. … Hopefully, they’ll get it resolved because either way, it’s going to be an impact on our budget,” Roberson said. “We need to find out about it. Hopefully, they’ll get something done about it.”

The sooner the city knows the county’s intentions regarding EMS coverage in Washington Township, the sooner the city can plan its budget around that intent, Roberson said.


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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