Capital Project Plan Outlined For City Council

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council got its first look at the new five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) this week.

The plan will cover FY15 through FY19 and includes big expenses for things like water and sewer, storm water management and street repair, though as a planning document none of those costs are set in stone yet.

In reviewing the CIP, Tom Stevenson, city administrator, focused Monday on the most immediate expenses expected in FY15. These include roughly $7.8 million in general fund requests, $68 million in water and sewer and $1.4 million in stormwater.

“As you can see, it’s a pretty hefty price tag for all of it,” he told the council.

The CIP encompasses all of the major projects planned by Salisbury. Some worth noting include TMDL compliance requirements, with $200,000 planned for FY15 between construction and engineering.

“And then it doubles in ensuing years,” said Councilman Tim Spies.

However, the hope is that grant funding will be keeping pace with TMDL cost requirements. Also on the council’s radar is a $336,000 cost to replace emergency vehicles for the police department and $495,000 of Phase II of work on the skate park, though that money should be funded mainly through grants and contributions. There is also $110,000 planned for improvements to the government office building in FY15, which caught the eye of Councilwoman Shanie Shields.

Shields requested a summary of total money spent by the city to improve the Wicomico County government building. She wondered if it might not be a better idea to use that and future money to fund an independent building for the council’s use.

“Because I’m an advocate for having our own City Hall … I’m an advocate of having our own City Hall down on the plaza,” said Shields, “so if we’re spending all of this money on updates for this building we want to see you know.”

Stevenson said that he would get the data and pointed out to Shields that a City Hall space study, costing $20,000, is scheduled for FY19. Shields was pleased.

“We spend a lot of money upgrading a building that we are jam packed in and I think we need to explore getting our own place like we used to have,” she said.

The council will further review the CIP in the months ahead as it formulates a budget.

“This is not the last time we’re going to see this,” said Council President Jake Day.