The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

November 21, 2012

Capital improvements projects to include $7.4 million in street repairs

OTTUMWA — In the next two years, the city will fund $5.2 million in capital improvements projects throughout Ottumwa.

The City Council approved the 2013-14 Capital Improvements Projects plan at their Tuesday night meeting.

The 28 projects total more than $9.8 million, though nearly half of that will be funded through other sources, including grants, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts and Local Option Sales Tax.

“It will be paid out of several different sources,” said Finance Director Bob Jay. “A small amount out of Airport TIF, another out of Westgate TIF and the balance out of the debt service. With that in mind, the debt service levy is predicted to be on track with the current levy.”

CIP plans normally settle with the city funding around $3 million, Jay said, but with good interest rates this year, the city shot for more.

“In 2008, we did a four to five year issue ... when we were considering buying a fire truck and thought we were going to get a grant, but that didn’t materialize,” Jay said.

Jay said he looked at the cash flow so it’s spread out while looking down the road at future CIP plans, “so we don’t consume all the tax levy we have for that.”

“It is a large issue, but our sources of funding are varied and the repayment period of those are varied, so we’ll try to stretch this out where it’s not impeding our future projects, but also not hitting everything all at once real hard,” Jay said.

Jay told the council to keep in mind that when they go to market for the bond, if rates are the same he’ll go with this request, otherwise, “we may come back and pare some of these off a little bit.”

The biggest chunk of the plan includes 11 street and bridge projects over the next two years, which total nearly $7.4 million, half of which will be funded through outside sources.

Quincy Avenue, “one of the most traveled streets and heaviest arteries in town,” Morgan said, will be reconstructed from Albia Road to U.S. Highway 34 and from U.S. Highway 34 to city limits.

Bridges won’t be ignored either, with the Market Street Bridge receiving a long-awaited $3.2 million overhaul and the Eisenhower Pedestrian Bridge seeing $220,000 in repairs.

The city will only have to fund $700,000 of the $3.2 million Market Street Bridge project, with the rest coming from Westgate TIF.

Councilman Brian Morgan also noted that the upgrade of police radio equipment and update of the outdoor warning system are key to public safety.

“That’s a $196,000 project that’s only costing us $60,000,” Morgan said, since the remaining balance will come from E-911 and a JAG grant.

Other projects include Marilyn Road, Maple Street, Church Street reconstruction, Jefferson Street viaduct  and a new HVAC system at the Beach Ottumwa.

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