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Capital projects cost Kent $9.3 million

The 35 capital improvement projects for the county include increases for parks, zoo.

July 27, 2018
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(Watch for this story Monday morning on WZZM TV 13) A list of 35 Capital Improvement Program projects worth $9.3 million has been identified for the 2019 Kent County budget.

The total cost includes about $5.9 million — a decrease of about $500,000 from 2018 — from the county general fund and $3.4 million from other sources, such as grants and private donations.

The list will be included in the 2019 budget proposal scheduled for approval by the board of commissioners Nov. 29.

A list of 101 projects worth $19 million was requested, with final recommendations coming from a committee of county employees representing multiple departments.

Though Wayman Britt, Kent County administrator/controller, would like to see the full list funded, he said the county is not in a financial position to do so.

“Right now, we’re not at the level we need to be in terms of taking care of our capital needs, but we’re fortunate to be able to do as much as we’ve done,” he said.

He said the county is going through needed facility improvements piece by piece, “being frugal” to fund the most necessary items.

He added it is important to proactively keep up with parks and facility maintenance to avoid more expensive issues in the future.

Britt said he is happy the county was able to allocate about $400,000 more to expand and improve parks and about $420,000 more for the John Ball Zoo.

As the community continues to grow, he said it has been clear these public spaces are important for the county’s success.

“To keep the quality of life for the population, we need to maintain good parks,” Britt said.

“You want to continue to make sure (the county is) in a position for people to want to live here, move here and enjoy their time when they get here.”

Capital proposals allocating general funds include:

  • $2.1 million for facilities management, including $1.2 million for HVAC replacement at the 300 Monroe Ave. NW facility, as well as funds for courthouse security programs and health department lighting upgrades

  • $251,500 for IT updates

  • $960,971 for parks, including $255,000 for a Pioneer Trail connector to West River Drive, as well as $247,500 to acquire the future Lowell Regional Park and a parcel for Millennium Park

  • $790,000 for various sheriff’s department operations needs

  • $583,000 for John Ball Park Zoo improvements, including building waterproofing and parking lot upkeep

  • $315,000 for an electronic file system in the prosecutor’s office; the county spends $139,000 per year searching through paper files, not including paper-associated costs.

  • $825,150 for long-term debt toward district court, animal shelter, Fuller Avenue NE complex and boiler plant

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