Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sun Valley mulls capital expenditures

Council will take public comment next week


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Should a capital improvement program be a wish list or a reasonable to-do list?

The Sun Valley City Council met in a special session Thursday, July 7, to discuss the draft capital improvement program. This is a multi-year plan that identifies a city's needs for capital projects, fixed assets, facilities and land acquisition, and it sets out plans and estimated costs for their completion.

"The objective of the CIP is to provide a strategic and integrated approach to planning and funding," states the executive summary. "The capital improvement projects and fixed assets are intended to improve the quality of life for all residents of and visitors to the City of Sun Valley."

As directed by the city's comprehensive plan, the mayor and council are reviewing Sun Valley's needs for the upcoming five years.

While the document is in draft form, council member Joan Lamb said she wasn't sure the size and scope were appropriate for the current economic environment.

"I think it's probably a more aggressive recommendation than I would really feel comfortable making in this economy," she said. "I think it's more aggressive, more expensive and not realistic ... for us to really be promoting."

Councilman Nils Ribi agreed that not everything in the document can or should be accomplished.

"This is obviously a want list with a bunch of needs in it," he said. "The wish list from the city is $22.2 million, and that's definitely not do-able. It's something I certainly don't support. ... (We) need to get the word out to the public. They need to see what the wish list is."

The council debated how to generate public input, which has been scant so far, but Lamb urged the council to continue with its review process.

"We as a council need to come up with our recommendation about what's most important," she said. "Let's see if we can't move forward on both tracks: public input and council coming up with its specific recommendation about what we'd like to (get done)."

The document is available for review at the city's website, www.sunvalley.govoffice.com, and at City Hall.

"This is really an excellent document," Lamb said. "Things are explained really well. It would be nice if people would read it."

The council will take public comment and possibly make a recommendation at its July 20 meeting.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com

How are capital improvements funded?
Projects and asset expenses are paid from associated funds: Capital Improvement Project Fund, the Land Acquisition Fund, or the Fixed Assets Fund, according to the CIP summary report. Property taxes, local option taxes, grants and bonding are the primary revenue sources for funding capital improvement projects and fixed assets.




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