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Council approves $520M in capital improvements

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Springfield City Council last night unanimously voted to pass a resolution approving $520 million in capital improvements over the next six years.

The city identified 126 projects, totaling $95.8 million, for 2019 and an additional 160 between 2020 and 2024, according to city documents. The 160 future projects in the capital improvements program total $425.6 million.

“Once a year we update the capital improvements program and generate a report that includes additions to the CIP, including updates on all of the projects, timelines, funding estimates for all ongoing projects and programs, in addition to include updates to policy changes and address funding,” said Randall Whitman, principal city planner for Springfield.

The CIP is a six-year rolling program that lays out the funding and planning for the construction, maintenance and replacement of the city’s infrastructure and public facilities for the next six years.

“A lot of these are ongoing projects at various stages during the design and construction phase,” Whitman told council. “It’s used as a resource to develop the annual budget and is really intended to create transparency and give the public an opportunity to review and comment on capital spending.”

There were 55 new projects added to the 2019 CIP, with 40 of those slated to receive funding this year, Whitman said. He pointed to four recently announced fire station projects as examples.

The 2019 projects are broken down into 10 categories: airport, fire station, infrastructure, municipal building/ground, sanitary sewer, solid waste, stormwater, street, traffic management system and walkability/bicycle/safety.

Street improvements are the largest budgeted this year in the CIP, with $28.4 million for 30 projects, followed by 30 sanitary sewer projects totaling $26.4 million.

To be eligible for the CIP, the project must have a value of at least $100,000 with a useful life of at least six years, according to city documents. Not included is funding for equipment, services, supplies, personnel or dangerous building demolition.

Inclusion into a CIP does not guarantee completion, Whitman said. The projects are prioritized by public safety, legislative engagement, fiscal sustainability and economic vitality.

Many of the 2019 projects planned for construction are dependent on funding from the renewal of the quarter-cent capital improvements sales tax, which is slated to go before voters April 2.

Projects must be funded through sales taxes, the level property tax, grants, federal or state programs, private funding and/or developer agreements, according to city documents.

There were 28 CIP projects completed in 2018 at a cost of $43.2 million, Whitman said.

Completed projects last year included Chestnut Expressway railroad grade separation to ease traffic flow for $18.1 million; a sanitary sewer overflow control program sewer rehab for $11.6 million; and the widening of Republic Road from Parkcrest Avenue to Fairview Avenue for $2.7 million, according to city documents.

Last year’s CIP projects were tabled twice before being passed as officials examined the projects to be funded, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

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