The FY 2009-2014 Community Investment Plan is back for another review and we’ll hear from a Comcast representative at Monday evening’s Town Council meeting.
The Normal Town Council meets at 7 p.m. Mon. Dec. 1 at Normal City Hall.
A couple of years ago, I suggested a more thorough analysis of proposed capital improvements. The traditional council budget process involved limited discusssion of projects that were included in the proposed five-year budget and that discussion was usually rushed and at the end of a long day of budget hearings.
Staff listened to the concerns and came back with the idea for a Community Investment Plan, which is prepared and adjusted throughout the year and presented to the council at a work session in Octrober. The plan is part of the annual budget process and has been incorporated as part of the Town’s awarding winning financial reporting.
When I was a news reporter back in the late 80’s and covered local government, one city handed me a bound, easy to follow budget document. Other city handed me two large stacks of loose leaf paper held together by a couple of large rubber bands. Evidently, things haven’t changed much. But I digress.
The six-year community investment plan contains a little more than $10 million in projects for the upcoming FY 2009 year and about $48 million in proposed projects over six years. Some of the FY 2009 highlights include:
- Three new water slides and a spray park at Fairview Aquatic Center;
- Uptown street (East Beaufort and North St.) construction as well as $1 million in Uptown water and sewer line replacement;
- Widening and reconstructing Pipeline Road between Northtown and Ziebarth roads;
- Patching Fort Jesse Road between Beech St. and Blair Dr;
- Virgina Ave. construction — new bridge and new street between University St. and Franklin Ave;
- Parking lot for Heartland CC stadium;
- Annual road resurfacing program;
- Sludge removal and completion of the conversion to radio read water meters.
Staff does a tremendous job on this report which is chocked full of information including project descriptions, estimated costs, funding sources, and photos.
Don’t get thrown by the number of projects that aren’t included in the budget. Every department has a wish list. Some are quite extensive. Even several council initiated proposals appear on the “not included” list. Given our projected resources, the council’s desire not to raise taxes, and the increasing costs of construction materials, it’s still a very ambitious list of projects that will end up in our FY 2009-2013 budget. Even in challenging economic times, you can’t back off community investment or it will come back to bite you.
A local Comcast representative has asked to speak to the Town Council. He was out of town when the council voted down the company’s request for an increase in basic cable rates. I spoke with the representative last week and urged him not to raise basic rates. I also suggested, based on the amount of feedback I’ve received, to define a basic package and stick with it. Nothing is more aggravating than paying more for a reduced level of service.