Donna D. Holaday
March 25, 2019
City Council Agenda:
Capital Improvement Plan (CIP): Fiscal Years 2020 – 2024
Tonight the updated 5-year CIP is before you representing the collaborative work of the Mayor’s Office, Finance Department and Department Heads. Each Department has presented their most important capital needs which we have prioritized and developed a realistic funding schedule based on the city’s financial resources and aligned with our financial policies. The FY20 CIP totals $7.5M funded through Free Cash, Enterprise Funds and grant programs.
Transfers: Three CIP items have been placed before you due the time sensitivity of need.
NHS Cupola Phase 3 Restoration: The total estimated cost for this restoration is $283,500, $174,500 of which has been covered by a CPA allocation leaving a gap of $109,000. Half of the remaining cost would be transferred out of the City’s FY19 certified free cash, the other half would be transferred from the proceeds from the sale of the former Kelley School. The School Department has provided supportive documents outlining the project and all of the phases. I urge the Council to approve this transfer requests to found our continuing efforts to restore our beautiful and historic High School.
Parks Department– Ventrak Slope Mower: The second transfer request is to allocate $28,000 of Free Case to purchase a slope mower. This is a critical piece of equipment that will allow the Parks Department to safely and efficiently mow many of our sloped lawns, including Bartlet Mall, March’s Hill, and portions of the Rail Trail. This mower would be shared for sloped lawns maintained by the School Department and DPS and can also be used to mow flat lawns as well. We need to purchase this mower as we approach the mowing season to reduce risk to staff and to follow OSHA industry recommendations.
Plum Island Reservation Terrace Dune Nourishment: I am requesting the City Council approve a budget transfer of $22,500 to fund dune nourishment and erosion control this spring near Reservation Terrace. These same funds had initially been allocated, by approval of the City Council in November, for DPS to purchase concrete blocks to construct a wall along a portion of the dune system on Reservation Terrace in an effort to stabilize the dune system. We now know after several meetings that this will not be allowed under the Wetlands Protection Act, confirmed by DEP, DCR and the Conservation Commission. We need to go forward with dune nourishment this spring and the timing is right to go forward. The Charros Family docks will be dredged next month and we can use this sand to nourish the dunes. We have been working with our legislative delegation and all permitting is in place. The $22,500 will cover engineering and sand placement costs, including rental of specialized equipment. PI residents will also be purchasing additional sand.
The plan is for this nourishment to be the first of ongoing dune maintenance efforts to proactively protect City infrastructure and limit storm and flooding impacts. Going forward, the administration will maintain the required permitting for sand placement and to update our Beach Management Plan. We are exploring new sources of revenue to fund future dune nourishment, and will continue to partner with local residents. We are working to secure large volumes of sand from future dredges of the Merrimack River.
Staffing Transfer: Parks Department- This is an important and timely budget request to cover a shortfall in the Parks Department labor costs caused by two funding sources not realized. There is an anticipated surplus in health insurance costs which will cover the $28,500 needed as we enter into spring and the heavy labor season for the Parks Department. The allocated will cover the necessary part time and seasonal workers.
Paving: I am submitting the City’s roadway paving plan for this season. DPS has worked hard to address as many urgent needs as possible and to target critical routes for residents and businesses. We have developed a plan that focuses on repaving significant portions of two of our critical thoroughfares – High Street and Merrimack Street. Below is over $3 million of paving and sidewalk work DPS plans on completing this paving season.
|Location – Project||Estimated Cost||Funding Source||Notes|
|High Street – from North Atkinson St to Winter St (appx. 7,615 ft)||$735,000||Chapter 90||Portion of High St from Toppans St to Buck St will only be “shim coated” this season. Will be reconstructed in 2020 as part of Safe Routes to School project.|
|Merrimac Street – Spofford St to Kent St (appx. 9,500 ft)||$885,000||Chapter 90|
|Columbus Avenue||$180,000||Ch. 90 and Water & Sewer|
|Toppans Lane – Low St to Summit Place||$260,000||Ch. 90 and Sidewalk Fund||Road to binder only (future phases)|
|Pleasant Street – Titcomb St. to Market St.||$60,000||Ch. 90||To be coordinated with roadway and sidewalk work to be completed by garage contractor|
|Spofford Street||$700,000||Whittier Bridge Mitigation Fund||Roadway, bike lanes, and new sidewalk|
|Low Street Sidewalk @ Nock Molin School||$90,000||School Department||Sidewalk in front of school, no paving|
|Cashman Park Boat Ramp & Parking Lot||$100,000||Harbor Commission – State Grant|
Chapter 70 Public Hearing- I was asked by my peers through the MMA to testify on Governor Baker’s education plan. Education reform, including the state funding formulas, is sorely needed both for our community and the Commonwealth as a whole. I will continue to promote the fair distribution of state funding and increased funding for Newburyport and track the current education legislation.
57 Low Street National Guard Update – The disposition of the garage building and surrounding grounds at the National Guard property continues to progress. The next step is for the Armory Commission to meet on April 10th to officially surplus the portion of the property to convey to the City. The City has been assigned a project manager at DCAMM to oversee the conveyance process. Councilors will see that the administration has allocated $65,000 in the CIP to fund the feasibility study for a new Low Street Youth Services facility and accompanying documents, to be funded with FY19 Certified Free Cash.
Merrimack River Dredger – Following up from my trip to Washington, DC, Senator Markey’s office has scheduled a meeting this Wednesday, March 27th with Army Corps of Engineer District staff on the future dredging of the Merrimack River.
CSO Bills Public Hearing April 2nd – The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will be holding their public hearing on the CSO notification legislation introduced by our legislative delegation on Tuesday, April 2nd. The committee plans to hear public testimony for H.820, An Act Relative to combined sewage overflow and H819, An Act to support Plum Island coastal resources. I will be attending to provide public testimony and encourage Councillors and the general public interested in this issue to attend.