Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 04 February 2011 00:00
On Saturday, Jan. 22, various village departments presented their five-year Capital Improvement Plans at Village Hall. The meeting featured a broad overview of the village departments’ capital needs for fiscal years ending 2012 through 2016.
The village’s five-year capital plan has been in place for the last 29 years and is used to help identify essential projects and also equipment acquisitions. To give a historical perspective, capital plans have ranged anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the total village budget. Capital plans include debt service and the proposed plan, if enacted, would represent 5.5 percent of the expected budget. Last fiscal year, this area comprised 5.25 percent of the total $53,641,341.
During the capital plan presentation, Village Auditor Jim Olivo discussed the important aspects of the 2011/12 budget. “We do have a $200,000 increase in debt service for the projects that we’ve put on last year. We’ll also see a debt service increase next year for the same reason. We are not suggesting that any debt be issued for this capital plan. This is very much of a fund-it-as-you-go capital plan,” Olivo said.
According to the plan, much of the village’s debt is the result of sewer projects, which date back to 1992 and are close to being paid off. The village will be retiring its debt on the 1992 sewer system project in 2012; the 1993 sewer and mulberry drain retires in 2013; and the 1995 sewer pumping stations project in 2013. The 1995 St. Paul’s School acquisition will be paid off in 2013 and the 2006 St. Paul’s Park and 10th/11th Street parking area will retire in 2021. In 2022, debt for the library renovation and Community Park building, and the miniature golf and platform tennis court renovations project will be retired. Village Hall/police and fire improvements will also be paid off in 2025.
In spring of 2011, the village is planning to issue $6.9 million in bonds for road repairs at a cost of $330,000; $370,000 to repair Franklin Avenue crosswalks; $660,000 for the Community Park parking lot; $350,000 for relighting parking areas; $2,890,000 for resurfacing parking areas; and $2.3 million for water tank painting.
Olivo admits that two significant influences on the budget are health insurance premiums, which he says have gone up 14.5 percent, and retirement contributions that have soared in excess of 28 percent. “These are the factors that the board is going to have to deal with during the budget process. I just want to bring that out today, so that it sets the tone for why the capital plan is not equal to last year and there really is not a lot in the plan to be done in the first year,” Olivo stated.
Last April, Moodys Investors Service assigned the Village of Garden City a AAA rating. Olivo explained when the village’s outstanding debt obligations would be expiring. According to Olivo, in 2015, the village will have approximately $8.2 million outstanding at the current level. After paying off approximately $4 million in principal that is outstanding, an additional $3.2 million will be added to it. “At the end of the 15 years, you are going to have $7.2 million outstanding in debt, which is less than we have today,” Olivo said.
Among the village auditor’s responsibilities such as tax collecting and record keeping, Olivo oversees the technology area for the Department of Public Works, as well as the Finance, Recreation, Police, Fire and Building Departments. The total technology budget for proposed projects is calling for $115,000 for 2011/12; and $138,000 for 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15; and $148,000 for 2015/16.
Olivo said the village is in a stay-in-place mode with technology. “What we do constantly is budget the same amount of money. We use it as a sinking fund. We replace equipment as it breaks. We have in excess of 120 devices…it includes both our telephone systems and our data communications,” he said.
Olivo maintained that one of the biggest expense items in the technology budget is police mobile computers. “Most people are aware that police have computers in the cars, what you are probably not aware of, those cost anywhere from $4,500 to $5,000 apiece. They are not PCs. They are clearly something other. They are mobile computers on a PC platform, but they are very expensive and they break very frequently,” Olivo said. He added that because the machines are shared, they do need to be replaced between three to five computers every year.
First Assistant Fire Chief Charles S. Cavarra led a brief presentation of the Garden City Fire Department’s capital projects. Cavarra said the lion’s share of the budget, $225,000, traditionally goes toward the annual fire apparatus replacement schedule. The department is deferring the apparatus replacement requests and a hose tower repair for Station 2 until 2012/13.
The only request for 2011/12 is for $25,000, which will go toward replacing a range hood in the kitchen in the second floor meeting room at the Fire Headquarters. Cavarra noted that the hood is required to be replaced by the fire department’s insurance company. Future budget totals are $555,000 for 2012/13, including $250,000 to resume the apparatus replacement schedule; $250,000 for Fire Company 2 Building repairs; and $55,000 for Fire Company 3 Building generator. The budget also calls to continue allocating $250,000 for the apparatus schedule in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
According to Cavarra, the department utilizes four fire engines; three are in service and the fourth is used for reserve. The engines start at a cost of $550,000 and go up from there. Ten years ago, the department purchased the most expensive piece of the fleet, a tower ladder for $700,000, according to Cavarra. “We don’t go for the luxury items, we don’t go for the high-end stuff. Here in the village, we want high quality apparatus but we want to keep it middle of the road,” he said.
Police Commissioner Ernest Cipullo explained the police department’s mostly requires capital funds for vehicles and in the communications/technology areas. This year, the budget calls for two police vehicles to be replaced. He said keeping them in good condition is necessary for answering emergency calls.
In the future, the department plans to become involved with Nassau County’s interoperational interagency communications center, which Cipullo said is still not fully in effect. This Center will help Nassau County Police and the Garden City Police Department communicate back and forth. “It should be very well received when it gets completed,” Cipullo said.
The 2011/12 budget only calls for one item, $52,943 for police vehicles. The request for vehicles calls for $212,133 for 2012/13; $196,147 for 2013/14; $141,926 for 2014/15; and $144,766 for 2015/16. The only communications technology item calls for $100,000 in the 2013/14 budget.
Garden City Public Library Director Carolyn Voegler requested several capital improvements to the library. Voegler said one of the great things the library has offered to patrons is the computer lab, along with printer receipts for checkouts, email notifications and the online calendar. She also noted that the library now offers the opportunity to download audio books at no cost through the website.
Over the next five years, the library is seeking to replace 22 computers and make improvements for the Local Area Network (LAN), which includes infrastructure, servers, computers and printers. The operating systems and processors will be upgraded to allow for faster processing.
The budget calls for LAN improvements at a cost of $40,800 for 2011/12; $22,000 in 2012/13; $20,000 for 2013/14; $26,000 for 2014/15; and $29,000 for 2015/16. Other projects such as the conversion of the bathroom in the Children’s section at a cost of $15,000 is requested in the 2012/13. A proposal for an Engineering Study on solar panels at a cost of $7,500 is being proposed for 2013/14; and a cost of an engineering study of microturbine generator for $10,000 is requested for 2014/15.
Department of Public Works Director Robert Mangan said DPW equipment is the backbone of doing repairs in the village. He applauded the mechanics for doing myriad important tasks. “They keep all the equipment running, they do a great job,” Mangan said.
Mangan outlined capital improvement projects for 2011/12, including $31,000 for DPW equipment; $336,0000 for road repairs; $110,000 for curb replacement; $250,000 for sidewalk repairs and $25,000 for tree planting for a total of $752,000. Monies for DPW equipment is also requested in the amounts of $229,000 for 2012/13; $411,000 for 2013/14; $463,000 for 2014/15; and $500,000 for 2015/16. Additionally, $200,000 is requested for sewer repairs and manhole relining for 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. DPW is requesting $250,000 annually for sidewalk repairs in 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. The DPW budget also calls for $200,000 to resurface parking fields in both 2013/14 and 2014/15. Additionally, DPW is requesting $960,400 for improvements in the Business District in 2013/14.
Kevin Ocker, chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Cultural and Recreational Affairs, presented the Recreation Department’s capital plan. The budget calls for only one item at a cost of $65,000 for the installation of synthetic turf fields for Little League Field 2 at Community Park for 2011/12.
The budget for 2012/13 request totals $438,000, including $133,000 for recreation equipment, $65,000 for the installation of synthetic turf fields; $50,000 for fence replacement; $75,000 for playground equipment replacement; $65,000 for safety surface neighborhood parks; and $50,000 for various court replacement. In 2013/14, the budget totals $1,221,000, including $60,000 for recreation equipment; $65,000 for synthetic turf fields; $50,000 for fence replacement; $821,000 for a roller rink replacement; $100,000 for retaining wall replacement; $50,000 for various court replacement and $75,000 for paths, parking lots and roadway rehabilitation. The 2014/15 budget totals $860,000. Requests are proposed for $50,000 for recreation equipment; $630,000 for the senior recreation expansion; $130,000 for synthetic turf fields; and $50,000 for various court replacement. The 2015/16 budget calls for $950,000 and the majority of the money, $900,000 is being requested for various parks energy conservation measures and $50,000 is being requested for recreation equipment.
The Community Park pool rehabilitation budget requests $100,000 for 2011/12 and $500,000 for 2012/13. No capital needs were requested for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
To view a copy of the Village of Garden City’s five-year Capital Plan or for a schedule of board of trustees meetings, visit the village website at www.garden cityny.net.