During the third of four scheduled Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) council budget workshops, the council worked to eliminate or delay costly capital projects from the city’s 2015 budget.
Overall, the FY15 capital improvement program (CIP) proposals equaled $63 dollars with about $23 million of that unfunded, which lead the council to find projects that could wait.
The city’s Transportation Engineering & Development Department proposed spending $5.2 million dollars to start to re-do the Central Parking Facility downtown, but council decided to delay attempting to acquire land for that one year, saving the city almost $4 million to avoid borrowing money to pay for it.
“While I understand your timeline, I think it’s a bit aggressive,” said Councilman Grant Wehrli. “From the standpoint that we’ll still have Water Street still fully off-line and Main Street Promenade East still coming on board. And when I look at our debt load, if we can push that out another year, I think that would be a prudent thing to do.”
Also planned for FY15 is sprucing up the 420 S. Washington property that will become a park in partnership with North Central College, costing $2.2 million over two years.
Despite the go-ahead from council not all members were on board with those costs.
“That seems really excessive to me,” said Councilman Steve Chirico. “$500,000 I would think for the whole project overall, you can build a really nice house for $500,000, we’re talking about a Rivewalk along a property line.”
Also at the meeting, the Fire Department requested close to $1 million, over two years in CIP funds, for emergency medical equipment, including a project to install about 30 defibrillators around the city and software to alert citizens that could use them to help in times of crisis.
The Police Department asked for funds to continue the upgrades to their firing range and to construct a building addition for defensive tactics training and a fitness facility.
Because the council had many questions regarding the Information Technologies Department & the Electric Utility’s CIP requests those agenda items were moved to a separate workshop, which will also include a discussion about the mayor’s salary.
That workshop is set for February 24.
The council will vote to approve a partial CIP, including only the items approved at this workshop at their February 18 meeting.
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