By DENISE GRANT
In a “perfect world,” the City of Findlay would finish every single project outlined in its capital budget for 2020 this year.
At least that’s how Brian Thomas, city service director and acting engineer, said he pieces together Findlay’s improvement plan — with hopes of perfect weather, abundant contractors and no problems — and then, he chuckles at the idea.
“We do the best we can,” he explained, during a meeting of council’s Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The committee voted to recommend the plan to the full council.
This year’s capital budget tips the scales at about $50 million, but it includes money for several projects that were “carried forward” from last year. A majority of the capital money comes from grants, and state and federal dollars earmarked for specific projects. Last year, the capital budget totaled about $33.9 million.
The capital budget earmarks about $12 million from Findlay’s water and sewer funds for the replacement of city water meters and transmitters. The 2G transmitters on the meters are being phased out and will no longer be support by cellular companies in the future.
On Thursday, city Auditor Jim Staschiak said council should consider going back to employing meter readers, as has been done in years past, or find some other way to get that cost down.
Staschiak also recommended that council consider restrictions on both the city’s water and sewer funds to ensure that enough money is set aside for repairs and eventual replacement of both systems.
This year, the city is expected to contribute about $4.7 million to capital improvements, and $2.7 million in city funds earmarked for last year’s projects. Thomas is also asking that council consider earmarking an additional $1.25 million for improvements. No decision was made by the committee on the additional appropriation.
Appropriations include about $192,000 to replace four sport utility vehicles operated by the Findlay Police Department, and it’s going to take about $200,000 to fix the aged heating and cooling system in the municipal building. About $100,000 will be spend on updating the system this year and next.
The parking lot of Emory Adams Park, 1827 S. Blanchard St., which was supposed to be repaired last year, is back in the plans for this year, for $10,000. About $80,000 in improvements to Swale Park, 740 Glenn Ave., is back on the books for this year, as is about $7,000 in repairs to the city’s skate park at 526 Hancock St.
An archery park could be installed east of Findlay’s reservoirs at a cost of about $10,000, with the approval of the city’s recreation department.
If all goes as planned, seven intersections on Main Street, Findlay, will have a new traffic light by year’s end, at the cost of about $100,000 each.
A total of $1.25 million has been budgeted for the city’s annual resurfacing and curb repairs program. The streets were not identified Thursday.
The budget also includes the $1 million STRICT Center.
The STRICT Center, standing for Simulated Tactical Response & Incident Command Training Center, will be a multi-agency training complex behind Findlay’s Fire Station 4 on Hancock County 236.
So far, the city has allocated $250,000 toward the project and the Marathon Petroleum Corporation has pledged $125,000. Another $10,000 has been donated by the Hancock County Firefighters Association. The Community Foundation has awarded a conditional grant in the amount of $100,000 toward the project as well, dependent on other funding benchmarks.
Construction could start in the fall of 2020, with the facility to open in the spring of 2021.
An interactive map of Findlay’s capital improvement plans is expected to be made available on the city’s website, www.findlayohio.com, soon.