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Mayor Outlines Long Term Plan to Address City’s Facilities and Equipment Needs

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mayor-mitchell-new-bedfordAt a press briefing earlier today against the backdrop of a complex of city-owned buildings in need of significant repairs, Mayor Mitchell and several city department heads outlined the City’s first Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP is a long-term plan for addressing the facilities and equipment needs of the City of New Bedford through 2018. The plan provides funding for an initial group of pressing capital improvements at city facilities including public safety buildings, school department facilities, facilities designed for public use and those designed to house general government operations.

“The Capital Plan addresses long unmet facility and equipment needs. It is clear that simply continuing to ignore our deteriorating facilities ends up costing the City a tremendous amount of money. We end up paying much more eventually to fix problems when we try to simply put them off. Small repairs end up being much more costly over time if left unaddressed,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell.

“One of Mayor Mitchell’s initial directives to me was to lead an interdepartmental effort to develop a long-range capital plan. The CIP addresses the City’s ongoing facilities and major equipment needs in a conservative fashion with the dual objectives of addressing core needs while restraining the City’s ongoing debt levels,” said City Chief Financial Officer Ari Sky.

The program is designed ensure that the highest priority projects receive public funding in a manner that is in keeping with the City’s ability to pay. The total budget for the five-year plan is $42.9 million and the Mayor has already submitted a Critical Needs Bond Request to the City Council for the initial $5.8 million investment to finance the significant near term capital requirements.

The FY2014-2018 Capital Improvement Plan contains a complete listing of the highest priority capital improvement projects and their descriptions.

Highlights of the Capital Improvement Plan

  • The first step in creating the Plan was the development of a Capital Needs Assessment (CNA) by the City’s new Chief Financial Officer, Ari Sky, that identified roughly $70 million in needs across all City Departments.
  • The Plan is a response to the Capital Needs Assessment. It is the first time the City has put in place a long-term capital plan.
  • Under the Plan, the City will pursue $43 million in projects over the next five years. The Plan will be updated with new projects annually. Much of the focus will be on repairs and deferred maintenance.

• Top funding priorities under the Plan are:

  • $1.8 Million for roof repairs to the Hillman Street Complex to stop the leaking and the resulting deterioration of the interior of the historic buildings.
  • $4.5 million for police, fire, and EMS equipment and vehicles.
  • $18 million for the local share of three new school projects (Hannigan, Taylor, and School TBD) as well as NBHS renovations

• Affordability was the most important factor in developing the Plan. The Plan was designed in a way so we keep financing costs down.

  • The Plan is a tool to help the City achieve its long-term financial goal of reducing the debt burden on the City budget.
  • Under the Plan, the City’s overall indebtedness (the amount of debt outstanding) will be reduced by $10 million over the next five years from $76 million to $66 million).

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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