MONTPELIER — For the last decade, leaders made budget concessions when it came to the capital city’s infrastructure, and now they want to borrow $870,000 to “catch up.”
Since 2003, $131,641 has been slashed from the capital projects annual budget.
Ten years ago, adjusted for inflation, the city was allocating $1.21 million toward the capital budget. The fiscal year 2013 budget that voters are asked to approve Tuesday includes just under $1.08 million.
So while most city department budgets show increases, adjusted for inflation — of 4 percent or 7 percent — the city’s capital investment actually has shrunk by more than 10 percent.
Now the city’s infrastructure and equipment needs have piled up, leaders warn.
The City Council created a committee last summer that determined the city’s total capital needs are about $30 million.
So city leaders are asking voters Tuesday to authorize borrowing $870,000. That money will be used by the city to “catch up on infrastructure and equipment funding,” ballot article reads.
If the bond passes, the capital budget annual debt bill will go from $618,000 in fiscal year 2013 to $686,000 the following year.
Of the $870,000, the city would spend $207,500 to purchase a $350,000 firetruck. A grant will cover the remaining $142,500.
The largest chunk of the money, $284,667, would be used for accessibility improvements for city buildings. An additional $140,000 would go toward retaining wall repairs, $50,000 for storm drains and culverts, and $187,833 earmarked for street rehabilitation.
City Manager William Fraser said it makes the most sense to bond for projects that will last 20 years or longer.
Street rehabilitation is not the same as simply repaving a road, which wouldn’t be expected to last that long.
During rehabilitation, the structural foundation of the road is rebuilt before new pavement is put down. Street rehabilitation is expected to last at least 20 years, if properly maintained.
Towne Hill Road, Grandview Terrace and Liberty Street are on the docket for rehabilitation. And Hill Street, Cherry Avenue and Lague Drive are on the schedule for retaining wall repairs, if the bond passes.
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