July 17, 2003



$13m in capital projects included in Village report

A capital improvement plan released by the Village manager last week contains more than $13 million in projects that the Village wants to address over the next 10 years. The inventory identifies more than 125 projects, most of which involve upgrading infrastructure or replacing equipment.

Village Manager Rob Hillard presented the inventory to Village Council at its meeting July 7, writing in an introduction that the inventory is an “aggressive list” of items accumulated by the manager and Village staff over the years.

Council president Tony Arnett called the plan an “extensive and detailed inventory.” He added, “It’s also overwhelming.” The inventory, he said, “conveys the true nature” of what the Village is facing: “either a 30-year backlog” of projects or bad timing, since much of the Village’s infrastructure, which Arnett said was installed at the same time, now is due to be replaced.

Hillard said that if the Village accomplishes the items in the plan, “it’s a good decade.”

Council members said that they would work with Hillard and the community to prioritize the identified projects, and to find ways to pay for them. Arnett suggested Council hold a community meeting in the future to discuss the information contained in the inventory.

One challenge will be paying for these projects. In his introduction, Hillard said that “the most direct revenue opportunities” are increasing utility and tax rates, as well as grants. During the meeting, Hillard said that the Village could also raise funds by charging those residents who would benefit from specific projects. In addition, he said that Village staff continues “to look at cutting expenses.” Arnett said that the Village could borrow funds.

Arnett also said that the Village could raise funds if the community grows, which would increase what officials often call the Village’s “base,” or customers. “Every dollar we get from growing in a smart way is every dollar less we will have to raise from you,” he said of local residents.

The creation of capital project inventory is part of a Council goal to create a 10-year capital improvement plan, which would include costs and revenue sources.

Like most of Hillard’s budgetary documents, the capital improvement plan is divided into categories based on the Village’s main funds, the three Village-operated utilities and the multi-fund, or the general fund. Hillard said that the costs identified in the plan are estimates, and before any project is undertaken, he said, the Village would further analyze the costs.

Multi-fund items make up almost half of the identified projects, approximately 53 items totaling $6,537,600. Of this total, most are identified needs of the street department, which is the largest category in the inventory at $5.69 million. The inventory includes almost $4.64 million in road or drainage work. The inventory only includes major streets for which the Village could receive permissive tax dollars from Greene County. Hillard said the Village receives $14,000 annually in permissive taxes.

The list of street department projects also includes $600,000 for a retention pond on the Village-owned Glass Farm. A retention basin could help alleviate flooding on the north end of town, officials have said.

Other multi-fund items in the plan include vehicle replacements, including four police vehicles; upgrading the heating and cooling system in the Yellow Springs Library building, which the Village owns ($125,000); replacing the roof at the Bryan Community Center ($80,000); upgrading the heating and cooling system at the Bryan Center ($93,000); and repairing the gutter at the Gaunt Park Pool ($100,000).

In each of the three utilities, upgrading infrastructure makes up at least half the fund’s total projects. For instance, 80 percent of the funds identified in the water department’s section of the plan, or $2.63 million, involve upgrading water mains throughout town. The water department also needs to paint one of the water towers, for $300,000.

The sewer department has identified almost $1.77 million in sewer line replacements, or 79 percent of the department’s identified needs. The inventory also includes $552,000 in electric work or upgrades. This makes up 51 percent of the fund’s total projects, in terms of cost.

The plan also includes a project to upgrade the Public Works facility at the Sutton Farm on State Route 343. The three utility departments and the streets department would pay for the project, which is estimated to cost $70,000. The four departments, which make up the Village Public Works Department, would also split the costs for a number of vehicles and equipment.

The inventory should help the Village plan for larger projects. For instance, the Village could try to time water and sewer line replacements when it needs to resurface the roads under which those lines are located.

—Robert Mihalek