CIP Work Session Recap
I won't touch on everything we discussed because we discussed a LOT of different capital projects. I will touch on projects that some of you have asked me about as well as the projects that sparked further discussion among Councilmembers today.
One project that lead to a lengthy discussion was a $150,000 renovation of the City Council Chambers. Staff recommends that we rebuild the current Council Chambers to include a raised dais with plug-ins for our iPads/chargers for necessary technology. In addition to this upgrade, there would be approximately $75,000 needed for technology upgrades to allow for ADA Compliance with Closed Captioning of meetings for the purposes of live streaming. The City Clerk pointed out that she has never been to another city where they did not have a raised dais with outlets/plug-ins and that our Chambers are actually a fire hazard. It was stated that besides the power cords that run along the floor covered by a piece of cut carpet, we also don't have the proper exits in case of fire. Councilmembers were sort of split on these costs. Some mentioned this was not the best use of taxpayer money, some mentioned that there are many options afloat at this time to expand/move City Hall offices so this project may turn out to be an unnecessary expense down the road. One member was all for this upgrade citing that our current chambers are "pitiful".
We spent quite a bit of time on the Parks discussion. There is almost one million dollars in the budget for 2020-2021 to add pickle ball courts to the current Mount Dora Golf Course out on Highland Ave. This was met with much contention from Councilman Crail, and all of Council agreed that a priority should be to purchase property for a park across Hwy 441. There is not one single park in Councilman Crail's District (District 4) that is open to the public. The money for the potential Golf Course renovation will be kept in the budget but moved out to the following year because it is still an option. Meanwhile, for all of us pickle ball lovers, talks are underway for at least 6 additional pickle ball courts at the current Lincoln Ave. Parks area. It was also made clear that adding at least one park to District 4 is a priority.
Departments that didn't spark much discussion but are worth summarizing are Electric, Stormwater and Water/Wastewater. Electric department is going to purchase a new Bucket Truck.
Stormwater is purchasing a DeepTrekker ($41,000). This is a machine that allows us to see up to 100 feet underground, through a manhole, to allow a clear view of potential problem areas (cracks, etc.) to avoid a major problem before it happens. We are also set to purchase an excavator ($47,000). Next year's Capital Improvements also included a $3 million project to curb constant erosion during heavy rains on Donnelly Street between Waterman Village and Limit Ave. This portion of the roadway is slowly eroding and could potentially wash away if not repaired. The boardwalk along this portion of Donnelly Is at the end of its useful life and will be replaced with a pedestrian trail. Other stormwater projects planned include Helen and 7th Ave at Summit Condos, they suffer from some flooding issues in heavy rains. Other problem areas to be addressed over the next 5 years include, but not limited to, Overlook and Purple Heart, Shirley Ave., Tremain and Charles Ave. and Hilltop Drive.
Water/Wastewater has a few large projects in future years including working with St. John's Water Authority to determine if we can access the tremendous amount of water flowing beneath the city owned property on Thrill Hill. This would be a tremendous source of over one million gallons of reclaimed water each day the city could access for irrigation and construction projects ($7 million project set for 2023-2024). In budgeting for next year, we're looking at an almost $8 million project to bring Wastewater Plant #1 up to par (that is as far as utilization goes) with Wastewater Plant #2 (2019-2020). Currently, that plant is underutilized for our growing city. In addition, next year's capital expenditures include: Handheld Locator Unit, Ground Penetrating Radar, Portable Push Camera, Catepillar TracLoader and a Towable Dump Trailer.
We did not get to cover/discuss all funds and Capital Improvement Projects so this discussion will continue on at the May 7th Work Session beginning at 1pm.
If you wish for further information on any of what was covered in this post please reach out anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org or 352.805.8174
Have a great evening.
PS-What you see pictured is the planned roundabout where Eudora Rd. meets SR 19 and Old 441. That is a county project but the City will be responsible for moving our utilities from under the roadway.