County has CIP budget for next year

July 25, 2010
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A new roof will be put on an addition to the county-owned building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW, repairs will be made to the administrative building at John Ball Zoo, and the information technology department will have its data-storage system upgraded and expanded.

Those are three of the 16 capital improvement projects that members of the Kent County Finance Committee approved last week for the 2011 fiscal year that begins Jan. 1. The cost of those projects has been pegged at $3.28 million.

Roughly $3 million of that will come from the county’s general fund. The county will set aside 0.15 mills for its CIP budget from its operating millage that comes from property-tax receipts. Another $200,000 will come from the CIP fund’s reserve, which is also supported by the general fund, and $94,050 will come in the form of reimbursements from other governmental units such as the state.

It’s the second consecutive year the county has dedicated 0.15 mills to the CIP budget. Prior to last year, 0.20 mills were set aside for improvement projects. Earlier this year, a suggestion was made to reduce the set-aside to 0.10 mills and leave the difference in the general fund, which is facing a projected deficit of $9.5 million for the 2011 fiscal year.

The largest, single expense in the CIP budget for next year is a $1.17 million bond payment for improvements to the county’s Fuller Avenue Campus two years ago.

The CIP list of 16 was trimmed from a total of 29 requests that would have cost $6.4 million — about twice what the county will actually spend next year. Examples of projects not getting funds include a geothermal system for the aquarium at the zoo, a redevelopment of Gordon Park and a snowmelt system for the downtown courthouse.

An eight-member committee, made up of department heads and County Administrator and Controller Daryl Delabbio, reviewed the requests, assigned a priority rating to each, and recommended the list the Finance Committee approved without making adjustments.

The CIP budget will be included in the county’s general spending plan, which county commissioners are scheduled to adopt in November.

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