Community Notes: City budgeting shows projects and purchases
By Keith Starr, Charles City Council
This is the time of year that many people are glad that it stays light longer.
For the city staff they are seeing the light at the end of the budget process.
This process starts early in December and runs about two meetings per week with the council until this time of year. Even those meetings pale compared to the time spent on the back room work that they do to meet with city staff and outside agencies to understand the most pressing needs that they have.
I usually find this to be a good time to think about how the council looks at every expense category and works to manage the resources that are available.
As usual, the city will purchase a new police vehicle this year. This will be our first pickup police unit. One reason for this switch is that the police use the units for about six years then the vehicles pass to various city departments. A pickup seems like a more flexible unit for other departments.
Speaking of spending for capital items, this will be another big year of upgrades. Work continues on the water resource recovery facility. The council has also used resources each year to line the existing sewers pipes. There are various reasons to do this, but I prefer to think the best is less problems down the way.
The Main Street Bridge will receive an overhaul to assure that it will be here many more years. Unless we approve the painting of it you won’t see much difference.
Speaking of bridges, the rebuilding of the walking bridge has been delayed so more bids can be sought. Hopefully within 18 months it should be completed.
The Fire Department aerial truck purchase was done soon after I was elected the first time. Because there wasn’t money put aside to pay for it we had to borrow the full amount.
The next truck will need to be replaced about the time the aerial is paid for. The difference will be that we are saving toward this purchase and may get by with little or any borrowed money.
I am interested in seeing what opportunities come with the South Grand Industrial Park.
Several years ago, the city began setting funds aside to acquire nuisance properties and remove the buildings. I anticipate that 2020 will be a very active year for that.
A year ago several people came to a meeting to discuss surface water issues. Since then we have made it a priority to correct the drainage issues that we can. In 2020 there will be projects started to reduce the surface water issue.
Of course, the fiber project is going from the planning stage to the building stage.
These are just a small portion of what will be happening in the community. Yet to be determined is what changes will need to happen to maintain a quality ambulance service.
As usual when the snow falls the trucks are there to clear the way. Remember to allow room for them to do their job. Many times their visibility is limited.