WENDELL Town commissioners got their first look at a capital improvement plan for the first time in several years earlier this month.
The 5-year, $7 million plan is not written in stone, but instead, is a guide commissioners use to prepare the town’s budget each year.
In many towns the capital improvement plan is approved as part of the budget process. Commissioners allocate funding for the first year of the plan, but they have an idea of costs that are coming down the pike. The plan can be updated each year to reflect changing needs and priorities.
Town Manager Teresa Piner said she knows the proposal isn’t feasible as it’s presented. Instead, she put the 22-page document before town leaders to get them thinking about the town’s future needs. “Unless we are able to do a bond or raise taxes tremendously, it’s not going to happen,” Piner said.
The 5-year plan includes $1.9 million in expenditures for the police department, about $1.6 million for both the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department. Another $1.5 million would be invested in information technology. The Planning Department would get just under $500,000 over five years. The plan Piner presented to the town board calls for $1.8 million in expenditures in the next budget year, which would begin July 1, 2017.
Items in the capital improvement budget are generally considered one-time expenditures and most of them are more than $10,000.
Piner is hoping commissioners will study the proposal and suggest changes that will address needed expenses, but remain economically feasible.
Commissioner Jason Joyner agreed the plan needs reworking. “We’d have to raise taxes by 38 cents to do all this,” Joyner said. “I think we need to reprioritize this.
Joyner said commissioners should look at the items included in the plan and consider how they fit into the town’s long-term plans. “I think we need to rein in and retarget our goals. Based on how you target your goals, you would develop a capital plan that reflects those goals,” Joyner said.
Piner wants commissioners to take whatever time they need. “What we’re looking for is taking some time on this. We could wait until the September retreat or it may be that we don’t need to wait. At some time, yes, we’d like (a plan) approved,” Piner said.
Among the projects in the plan are:
▪ Replacement of police vehicles and radios
▪ Construction of a police substation in west Wendell
▪ Replacement of the public works vehicle fleet
▪ A new bucket truck for the Public Works Department
▪ Field improvements at Wendell Park
▪ Restroom facilities at Wendell Park and Carver playing fields.