New capital budget emphasizes roads, public safety
Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell announced the city’s proposed 2013 capital improvement budget at a press conference with his directors, commissioners and safety forces leaders.
Wednesday night, District 3 councilman Mike Craig planned to follow by hosting a town hall budget meeting at the Weber Block on Front and Main streets in East Toledo.
Craig, who left a council meeting to be at the Weber Block, arrived along with administration officials, but only a handful of residents showed up, so the meeting was cancelled. Two days earlier, The Press received a fax from the city announcing the meeting, but it was sent too late to meet deadline.
“It’s going to be a tight year because some prices have gone up. Our revenue projections are just about back to where they were in 2007,” Craig said. “But, unfortunately, even though we’ve had some concessionary contracts and stuff, costs are still up from where they were in 2007.
“I think by this time next year, we should be loosened up. We’re not going to be flush with cash and for the next five or ten years we’re going to have to be very, very careful. But I think we’re going to get through next year. We’re not going to have to make cuts and we’re going to have to be very frugal with the money we do have.
“There is not as much coming out of capital improvements as there has been, but we still need capital improvement money to cover our expenses,” Craig continued.
The capital program has been proposed several months earlier than previous years in an effort to achieve better rates on materials and construction projects to maximize funds and minimize costs, stated a city press release.
The budget places an emphasis on reconstruction and resurfacing of major streets and residential roads, construction and rehabilitation of two city fire stations, continuation of the data driven policing project, purchase of new police vehicles, construction of a new facility to hold the city’s road salt and also looks toward modernization of internal city processes.
“We continue to look to our directors and commissioners to be innovative in proposing capital projects that will move the city forward and serve our citizens with the greatest possible benefit,” said Mayor Bell. “We have not raised taxes but we continue to provide the services our taxpayers expect and deserve including paving roads, improving public safety and working to make government easier to access.”
More than $44 million will be allocated for road and street construction, repaving and planning including matching funds from state and local sources. These expenditures will allow for nearly 61 lane miles to begin construction in 2013. Approximately 23 of the 61 lane miles are residential roads throughout Toledo’s neighborhoods and the downtown.
District 3 (includes East Toledo and the old south end) will get 11.3 miles of roads resurfaced or reconstructed at a cost of just under $6.5 million. District streets to be reconstructed through city legislation include Liberty from East Broadway to its dead end, Remington from Oakdale to Fairmont, and Williams from St. Clair to Morris.
Oak Street from Fassett to Woodville and Miami Street from Oregon Road to Oakdale are to be resurfaced thanks to OPWC grants and loans matched by city improvement funds. Edwin, from Kuhlman to its dead end will be reconstructed thanks to other funds matched by CIP funds as part of a private/public demonstration project being done by Kuhlman Corporation.
Other District 3 resurfacing projects carried over from 2012 include reconstruction of Curtis from Western to Rolk and Wilton from Woodsdale to Toronto.
“Here’s the tough part about East Toledo — we only have State Route 2 (Navarre Ave.), Route 51 (Woodville Rd.) and Front Street (Route 65) where we can get matching funds,” Craig said. “Some other areas of town have twice that many and over a lot longer stretches.
“From where Route 2 to the High Level (Anthony Wayne) Bridge to the city limit is only a mile and a half, I think, so they (other districts) can get a lot of their main roads repaved for a lot less,” Craig continued. “But I think we’re doing pretty well. It is not like the (former mayor Carty) Finkbeiner years.”
The Toledo Police Department will continue to develop the data driven policing project with allocation of another $380,000 for ongoing enhancement of the ORION project and provide for additional software to support CompStat. The department will also purchase $680,000 in new vehicles for officer use.
The Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor will construct a new facility to hold the city’s road salt. The previous facility was demolished in 2010 when parts of the façade and roof began to crumble. Salt storage was moved to another shared facility in 2011, but a new long term building is needed. Construction for the storage facility will total $600,000.
Finally, the city will propose dedicating nearly $1.3 million for modernization of internal city processes. The funding will provide for introduction of an e-recruiting system for the human resources department, Accela Automation software for the Department of Inspection to issue, track and manage permits and licenses, and implements an electronic time and attendance system in the police department, which is still paper-reliant.
The total cost of the proposed projects will take $32.3 million in city funds and will leverage additional funds from loans and grants through state and federal sources.