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TAXPAYERS RESEARCH COUNCIL Y OUR T AX A DVOCATE S INCE 1937
N EWS AND N OTES
February 1, 2012
C ITY CIP W RAP - UP
This week the city council held their Capital Improvement Program wrap up meeting. The wrap up allows the council to vote on changes to the proposed Capital Improvement Program and review memos prepared by city staff which answer questions the council had on various projects. The overall cost of the final changes to the Capital Improvement Program has not been calculated. A new city operational facility which staff proposed to be built next year was postponed a year by the city council. The building’s original plan had an estimated cost around $18 million. The building would have been a complete consolidation of city field operations for fleet, truck storage, transit, central maintenance garage, cold storage, scale, truck wash and field services. The council agreed with the Taxpayers Research Council to remove the use of Red Light Camera revenues as a funding source for the operational facility due to possible changes in state law. Instead of looking for another revenue source to replace these funds, city staff decided to scale back the overall cost of the project to $15 million. Another proposed change by city staff was to remove the transit package from the project due to possible issues with Federal Transit Funding. This move would no longer allow the building to be considered a complete consolidation of city field operations. This change reduced the estimated overall cost of the building to $10 million. Consolidating the field operations could provide financial savings for the city, but city staff has not presented any actual statistics. City staff should consider paring down the project by no longer building an $18 to $10 million dollar facility consolidating all field operations. Staff should focus on replacing just the Field Office and Truck Storage buildings due to their deteriorating conditions. This would allow for a less expensive alternative. The city council also made changes to the proposed reconstruction of the parking lot located at 6th and Douglas. The original proposal had a complete reconstruction of the lot including pavement, curbs, light fixtures and side walk at a cost of $600,000 in Fiscal Year 2015. The council voted to only resurface the lot and ensure two light fixtures will be working at a cost of $90,000. The council also voted to have this project begin in Fiscal Year 2013. While reviewing the proposed design of Cone Park the council had asked for more information on estimated costs of annual maintenance. City staff provided their analysis to the council in two parts. The first part included the park grounds which accounted for landscaping, cleaning, maintenance and utilities with an overall cost of $71,000 with $35,000 of the total cost used for staffing. The second part included the ice/water features including chemicals for chiller, ice maintenance, purchasing/maintaining a Zamboni and utilities with an overall cost of $58,000 with $10,000 of the total cost used for staffing. The total estimated annual cost to maintain Cone Park is $174,000. The city council decided to ask the Cone Park Committee to reevaluate the costs and look for alternative resources. The city council voted to direct staff to perform an in house study of turning 5th and 6th streets into two way traffic in Fiscal Year 2013. The study, at a cost of $25,000, would include public meetings, conversion plans, traffic studies, snow removal and transit operations. Once the study is complete the council would be asked to approve the plans for construction in Fiscal Year 2014. The city council had asked city staff to review the possibility of changing Douglas Street into two way traffic. Douglas Street had been downgraded from a major arterial to a collector street as traffic counts have decreased. City staff believe they would need to widen the street by two or three feet to accommodate ”comfort distances” for two way traffic. They also estimate a cost of $125,000 to convert traffic signals at four intersections for two way traffic. Red Light Camera Fines A proposal to change Sioux City’s Red Light Camera fines from $195 to $100 will be debated by the city council. Below are current fine amounts in other cities around Iowa. Council Bluffs $107.25 Muscatine $107.25 Clive $100 Cedar Rapids $100 Davenport $65 Des Moines $65