City officials get costly sneak peek of 5-year Capital Improvement Program

By Ed Martin, Editor
Councilmember Ray Madrigal
Councilmember Ray Madrigal

The Lemoore City Council, at its Tuesday council meeting, got a sneak peek at what the future holds in store for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), and as is typical for such projects, it’s likely to be expensive, about $122 million over the next five years.

Tuesday’s “work-study” session was the first of two in-depth reviews by councilmembers as the Lemoore city staff continues to refine and prioritize the many CIP projects over the next month or so. The revised list will be returned to the council after staff analyzes the funding and financing options available to the city.

According to a memo from the city’s finance director consultant, John Herrera, for the past two months Lemoore’s city departments have worked together with the city manager and other stakeholders to identify CIP projects needed to maintain and enhance the “quality of life” of the residents of Lemoore, as well as provide the infrastructure to ensure that the city run smoothly and efficiently.

Capital Improvement Projects include such things as streets, parks, water, wastewater, solid waste, storm drainage, general facilities, public safety, the golf course and professional services.

How the city intends to fund the bulk of its $122 million CIP is another question. Herrera told councilmembers that the CIP anticipates revenue from a variety of sources, in part by utilizing existing revenue sources and limiting tax increases. It’s anticipated other funding sources could include grants and new sources of revenue.

Herrera listed the projects in tiers with Tier 1 ensuring public health, safety and welfare as well as meeting all legal requirements, a move that pleased councilmembers, including Ray Madrigal. “Everybody’s got a wish list,” he said. “Everybody wants a little piece of the pie and we wish we could do them all. But I think that in the staff report, it’s really well addressed as far as the tier structure… and I think Tier 1 is obviously going to have to take priority because those are the health and safety issues that we’re talking about.”

Mayor Lois Wynn agreed particularly when it comes to the things that contribute to safety. “One of the things I’ve always really appreciated over the years is that we’ve taken really good care of our streets. You go to other cities and that just doesn’t happen,” she said. “We need to make sure that that’s always ongoing.”

An example of the costs associated with capital improvements include a fiscal year 2018-19 expenditure of $47,349,500 needed in anticipation of a new wastewater treatment facility. The city also anticipates spending upwards of $38 million in water improvements over the 5-year plan. Funding such projects could come about through wastewater revenue fees, debt financing, reserves, impact fees or grants.

"I am very pleased with the changes City Manager Welsh and Interim Finance Director Herrera have implemented in this process," added Madrigal. "It makes for a more meaningful and productive dialogue.  City staff prepared a comprehensive list of very worthy CIP projects for council to consider.  It is now our job to prioritize those in a manner that will have the greatest impact."                   


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