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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

   20140901MetroCastweb

Supervisors review proposed capital plan in detail

Board wants School Board to provide long-term plan for use buildings prior to renovations

   The King George Board of Supervisors tackled a proposed 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2009-10 through 2013-14 recommended by the Planning Commission.
   That review took place during a special meeting last week on April 15.  The requested CIP totals $116M.
   ~ RALPH BUNCHE ADDED TO CIP  Several projects requested for next fiscal year 2009-10 were set aside or pushed forward, but one new project was added.
   Supervisors were unanimous in backing a suggestion by Supervisor Cedell Brooks, Jr., to add Ralph Bunche to the CIP list. 
They decided to add $50K for a needs assessment of the Ralph Bunche building and property, with the use to be determined in the future.
   Ralph Bunche was finally turned over to the county by the School Board earlier this calendar year.
   ~ CIP PROCESS  The CIP is a five-year plan which is updated annually by the Planning Commission and forwarded to the Board of Supervisors through the County Administrator. 
   Each year, Supervisors adopt a capital budget and spending plan in one-year increments for funding of capital improvements items and projects. 
   Except for construction of a new Sheriff’s Department building and an animal pound, the CIP for the current fiscal year was basically put on hold, with no expenditures being approved without an okay from Supervisors prior to encumbering any costs, due to the slumping economy.
   Earlier this year, the Board had previously taken a look at the latest CIP recommendations when it reviewed rankings by the Planning Commission in February. 
   This time they took a closer look at each project.  The 5-year CIP program is expected to be reviewed again at a future meeting followed by subsequent adoption. 
   ~ MONEY TIGHT & MORE INFO NEEDED  But more information was requested by Supervisors prior to going forward with approval of the proposed CIP.
   Director of Finance/Deputy County Administrator Donita noted that $337K is only available to cash-fund any items in the first year of the 5-year program. 
   That compares to $1M+ in previous years.  Harper said that more debt service must be paid from the landfill revenue in the coming year. 
   She noted that landfill revenue was projected at about $7.2M, with debt service, mostly for schools, anticipated at $6.8M. 
   Harper noted that determining how to fund or shift some of the items in the 2009-10 funding year of the 5-year plan is the challenge, without enough of a fund balance available.  The cost for the items requested in 2009-10 is $5,987,081, with cost of all requests for the five-year period at a whopping $116M.
   Harper reminded the Board, “We have 15 percent in undesignated reserves according to our policy that can’t be spent.”
   ~ SCHOOL BOARD ITEMS QUESTIONED  11 projects totaling $64,977,477 were requested by the School Board.
   ~ Two projects were eliminated off the bat by Supervisors, as recommended by the Planning Commission.  Supervisors praised the Planning Commission for that recommendation. 
   Those requests were for Office 2007 Pro software costing $91,854 to replace computer software and 65 GPS units for buses at a cost of $120,252.
   The definition of a capital project in King George is an item or project costing at least $50,000, which is not recurring in operating budgets, and used for at least two years. 
   Bundling items to get to the $50K threshold is frowned upon.  Supervisors agreed with the Planning Commission, and it was stated that such items should be included in the operating budget.
   ~ $420K for purchasing six school buses was set aside because the county is planning on providing funding for school bus leases in the School Board operating budget.
   ~ $250,000 for connecting roads between the new high school and the old high school and the middle school was set aside.  The project might be nice to have, but is too costly at this time.
   ~ $3M for a stadium and field house at the site of the new high school needs another look.  Supervisors asked to be provided with a scaled back version that would not be as costly as the schematic designs reviewed last fall. 
   ~ Four more projects were shelved until Supervisors are informed by the School Board of its plan for long-term use of the school buildings involved and an assessment on the buildings can be performed. 
   The projects include $3.1M for renovations to Potomac Elementary School, $342K for roof replacement at old King George Elementary School, $2,225,500 to replace the heating, ventilation and cooling system at King George Middle School, for which the School Board has no plans for use in the foreseeable future, and $140K for well replacement at the middle school. 
   The other two projects requested by the School Board are in future years.  They are $20M for another elementary school and $35m for another middle school, when they have one that will be sitting vacant.
   ~ GOVERNMENT CENTER  Two projects were left for possible funding in 2009-10.  They include:
   ~ 150K to go toward an Operations Center, and
   ~ 150K to go toward a Human Services Center, both to eventually be constructed at Purkins Corner, where a new Sheriff’s Department and Animal Pound are expected to be started this year.
   ~ SMOOT LIBRARY  One project was requested for partial funding in 2009-10, as noted here.
   ~ $79K to go toward architectural and engineering services for expansion of the main library to add 15,000 square feet, along with some renovations of the existing building
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry noted that it might make sense to take the estimated $7M left from a bond issuance last fall to go toward the library and government center projects listed above.  It was noted that the library project was expected to be ready to put out to bid by early fall.
   ~ PARKS & RECREATION  Two projects from P&R made it to the list for consideration for next year, but only one will likely be funded. 
   Supervisors suggesting putting off phase 2 of Sealston Park for a year at a cost of $210K for construction of a restroom/concession facility and a multipurpose court.  Sealston Park is new and has 3 softball/baseball fields, 1 Little League field and a multipurpose field large enough for 4 soccer fields,
   ~ $90,000 for engineering and design of a park at Purkins Corner was left in the proposed plan with possible funding proposed for 2009-10.
   ~ SHERIFF’S OFFICE  One project was requested for 2009-10 funding and it was left in by Supervisors as noted below.
   ~ $83,710 is expected to go toward Radio & Vehicle Audio-Video Systems.
   ~ EMERGENCY SERVICES  Four projects were on the list for next year, but two were set aside, including replacement of a heavy squad truck for $184K and $100K toward operations of a regional training center.  Supervisors want more information before they go forward with either project in the near future.  They also had a question about whether a brush truck needed replacement in the coming year. 
   ~ $145K was given the nod by Supervisors to go toward an ambulance replacement program.

By Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter

 

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