Proposed city budget funds boardwalk, drainage projects

Published 6:19 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Washington’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-2019, which begins July 1, includes appropriations for several waterfront projects throughout the city, drainage projects and electric system improvements.

The City Council meets Monday to begin several consecutive days of budget work sessions. Those sessions could result in significant changes to the proposed overall $77 million budget recommended by City Manager Bobby Roberson.

The proposed budget allocates $200,000 to replace deteriorating wooden slats at the west end of the waterfront boardwalk with marine (concrete) slats. The city’s capital-improvements plan includes just under $500,000 to replace wooden slats on the entire boardwalk with marine slats. Inclusion in the capital-improvements plan does not mean a specific project will be funded.

The proposed budget also includes $90,000 for the first phase of the project to replace the bulkhead at Havens Gardens.

Roberson’s recommended budget includes a $250,000 reserve for future capital projects related to stormwater management, which includes improving drainage throughout the city. In the past year or so, several city residents, many of them who live in the Jack’s Creek basin, have appeared at City Council meetings and complained about drainage/flooding problems in their neighborhoods.

The proposed budget appropriates $100,000 to address stormwater issues in the Jack’s Creek basin.

The proposed spending plan for Washington Electric Utilities allocates $1.8 million for a rebuild of the Slatestone substation, which should improve electric service in the Slatestone area. Planning for that project continues.

The budget work sessions could include more discussion on a new police station, something the city has been pursuing for several years.

To help pay for that new facility, the city has been setting aside money each year in a public safety capital reserve fund. At its retreat in February 2017, the council, through consensus, decided to use a three-step plan for building a new police station — find a good site, design the facility and find the money to pay for the city. Currently, the city has $1.6 million set aside for the new facility. The current city budget transferred $166,970 from the general fund to the public safety capital reserve fund, the same amount transferred in the previous fiscal year’s budget.

For several years, the city has been setting aside part of its general-fund revenues into a reserve fund to help pay for capital expenditures such as building a new police station. Of the city’s property-tax rate of 50 cents per $100 valuation, just under two cents of that rate is designated for the city’s public safety capital reserve fund.

The city has adopted a pay-as-you-go plan when it comes to major capital expenditures, proceeding with CIP projects when the money is there, sometimes splitting a project into phases funded over several years. The council assigns priorities to CIP projects to determine when they will be funded, or if they are funded.



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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