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First Look at Proposed Capital Improvements for 2022/23

Last week we gave a short overview of the proposed municipal budget for fiscal year 2022/23 as presented to the City Council by City Manager Steve Buck. This week we’ll highlight the Capital Reserve part of the budget – those big ticket items that include vehicles, equipment and major capital improvement projects for Public Works, first responders, Parks and Rec, and other departments. By putting these funds into a reserve account, they do not have to be expended during the fiscal year, but can be carried over into subsequent years.

Next year’s proposed Capital Reserve line item shows a slight decrease from the current year’s budget. The proposed total of $3,961,324 is down .85%. These are the City Manager’s recommended figures, and have many steps to go through before anything is finalized. The breakdown by department is as follows:

Public Works Department: This is by far the largest piece of the capital reserve, at a total request of $2,848,203. $2.25 million of that will go toward road improvements and $500,000 for fleet management. Other items included are facility gates, painting the garage, upgrading video surveillance (to protect all that valuable equipment), oil room insulation, and additional gas vents at the Rushton St. landfill. Offset by $105,000 in vehicle trades.

Fire Department: Total of $438,246 proposed, includes seven vehicle leases, and a new request for a Ford F150 crew cab tactical support assist vehicle. This new truck would be more cost effective to take when a second vehicle is required on EMS calls, rather than one of the larger, more expensive vehicles in the fleet.

Land Bank: The $316,227 proposed incudes LED streetlights, broadband infrastructure (offset by $200,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds targeted to broadband) and improvements to the lighting at the Midtown Mall concourse.

Parks and Recreation: The proposed capital budget of $285,900 includes completion of Benton Park improvements and new improvements to Carpentier Park, trail improvements, a pick up truck, a tractor, court resurfacing, and paving the parking lot at Gowen Park. Offset by $95,167 in ARPA funds targeted to Carpentier Park, and $28,370 in vehicle trades.

Police Department: $240,507 is proposed, which will include replacement of three police cruisers, and purchase of the five leased vehicles. Mr. Buck said the City is unable to lease them cost effectively at this time. Other items include body armor, security video system for the building, replacing rifles, and a side-by-side to use in patrolling the trails.

Information Systems: The proposed capital budget of $99,944 would include replacement of computers, and leases of server virtualization, network infrastructure and storage arrays. Mr. Buck said for the first time, the City will have offsite storage at Brunswick Naval Air Station. He commended the IS Department for their steps to increase cybersecurity. “The City’s information and services are well protected. If this goes through, if the Russian trolls hacked us and demanded money, we would be on virtual servers within seconds,” he said.

Airport: The proposed $88,334 would be used for improvements to the terminal building and a needed update to the airport layout plan.

Municipal Facilities: $60,000 is proposed to renovate the Chamber of Commerce offices on Main St., which will become the new home of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council this year.

Code Enforcement: $12,500 in this line item would replace two of the vehicles currently used by the code enforcement officers with one new one.

The City Council approved sending the proposed budget forward to the Budget Committee, which will begin reviewing the city and school budgets on Thursday, March 3, and on successive Thursdays throughout the month. We will have more details on the budget as they are released. The combined public hearing on city and school budgets is scheduled for March 17.

The Budget Committee will make its recommendation to the City Council on April 5. The Council may take weeks or even months to make a final decision. Last year, the Council postponed a vote until revenue figures from the state were announced, and didn’t approve the final municipal budget until June 23.

Voters have the final decision on the school budget, which will go to referendum election on June 14.

The full budget calendar is here.

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