October 21, 2015

City puts proposed improvements on hold

By Annette Tait
The atmosphere at the October Center City Council meeting relaxed noticeably after AJ Tuck, the City of Center’s new representative from Uleig Engineers, recommended considering a capital improvement plan instead of the multi-million dollar project that has been under discussion for the last several months.
“We’re going to take a step back,” Tuck said. “We’ll use all the information that we’ve gathered so far. I can make recommendations, but the decision is up to you.”
A capital improvement plan is a community planning and fiscal management tool used to coordinate the location, timing and financing of capital improvements  -- such as water and sanitary sewer systems, and street improvements -- over a period of time, usually several years. Tuck noted that the ultimate decisions regarding how much work – both in scope and cost – to be done at any given time will be up to the council.
“That’s more the approach that I’m accustomed to working with,” City Attorney John Mahoney said, “relying on engineers to make recommendations as to what needs to be done, what’s really urgent.”
Tuck is working with several other cities similar in size to Center, and provided examples of capital improvement plans for council members to review. Ulteig will use the results of the video taken of the city’s sewer system and data gathered on the water system and the condition of city streets to prepare recommendations.
“The only concern I have is to make sure the fire hydrant situation is taken care of,” Council Member Keith Erhardt said. “If there truly is a problem, we need to get that taken care of.”
Council approved Ultieg to move forward with a capital improvement plan at no cost to the city. The plan will identify needed infrastructure improvements and provide a recommended timeline for projects over the next five years.
“The council is stepping back from the improvement district,” Council Member Dallas Morast said. “There is no intention to proceed with the special improvement districts at this time.”

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