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Port Orange Observer Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2019 5 months ago

Port Orange City Council drafts Capital Improvement Program funds for 2020

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Port Orange City Council gathered Tuesday night to discuss the nearly $20.6 million proposed funds for city-wide improvements.
by: Caroline Smith Contributing Writer

With Port Orange beginning to budget for $142.1 million in department requests through 2025 via its Capital Improvement Program, next fiscal year's $20.6 million in proposed funds is being focused on parks and recreation, public works and utilities.

City Finance Director Scott Neils presented the second draft of the CIP to the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25, which laid out city goals and individual programs for fiscal years 2020-2025 for Port Orange. Department categories included the city manager's office, community development, fire and rescue, informational technology, parks and recreation, public utility, public works, stormwater and vehicle replacement. The first draft of the CIP was presented on April 1.

Almost $16.4 million was approved for project allocation in 2019. According to the presentation, nearly $20.6 million is proposed for 2020, with utilities comprising 45% of the requests and public works at 19%.

City Manager Jake Johansson said the labels of “imperative,” “essential,” “important,” and “desirable” for each of the items presented have been redefined and reassigned to each item to aid understanding in how decisions on allocations are made.

Some projects extend from the 2020 fiscal year to the 2025 fiscal year, whereas other projects have been ongoing and will conclude sooner rather than later. The Fire and Rescue department’s extrication equipment imperative will total up to $3.13 million in requests from fiscal years 2020-2025.

A project like the Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan has been ongoing since this fiscal year, and estimates $200,000 in requests for the 2020 fiscal year.

Information Technology will request approximately $732,000 over the life of the CIP projection, said Neils. This includes securing the City Municipal Network with a next generation firewall and a second firewall with load balancing configuration.

Newly-elected Councilwoman Marilyn Ford raised questions about the labeling of projects throughout the presentation. For example, she asked why the Port Orange Government Television studio upgrades were labeled as "imperative," whereas a public safety technology refresh was labeled as "essential."

Johansson noted throughout the presentation that not all of the labels were necessarily set-in-stone or completely accurate, because of the last-minute decision to change how they ranked the projects.

“It’s probably mislabeled,” he said. “We were whipping through these pretty quick.”

Parks and recreation will be requesting approximately $12.6 million in total through the CIP, to aiding the department's four imperatives: Lakeside Facility HVAC; a fence, dugout and backstop replacement; ball field lamp replacement; and playground replacements. These allocations mostly address safety issues, said Johansson.

“The playground replacement also is getting to the point where we think it will get dangerous if it lasts much longer,” Johansson said.

Included in the Parks and Recreation department’s requests is a $1 million allocation for land acquisition by Spruce Creek for the 2020 fiscal year. Also, the plans include a $4 million allocation in 2024 for a West Side Community Center, for community events as well as art or cultural events, Johansson said.

The Public Utilities Department plans on allocating $1 million for water system replacements, $1 million for generator replacements and $2 million for sewer system rehabilitation by the 2025 fiscal year. The biggest plan for Public Utilities, however, is the almost $5 million allocation devoted to city-wide pipe replacements by the 2025 fiscal year.

Public Works plans on completing road resurfacing and reconstruction with $4.8 million allocated by 2025. The department also plans to renovate the second floor and part of the first floor of City Hall with $275,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. Johansson said the quality of life is not good for city employees now and the repurposing will change that.

“We’re looking forward to getting our purchasing department out of the closet, literally,” said Johansson, commenting on the spatial issues the building has run into as of late.

The Stormwater Department plans on an approximate allocation of $12.6 million and the Vehicle Replacement Department will be replacing 12 vehicles (10 patrol and two detective) in the 2020 fiscal year, with almost $11.1 million proposed for total allocations by 2025.

On Aug. 6, the council will hold a public hearing to adopt the CIP.

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