Capital Expenditures Reaches Agreement on Project Prioritization

By Kim Siebert MacPhail

The 1997 Quint ladder truck that is slated for replacement
The 1997 Quint ladder truck that is slated for replacement   Image (c) JMcCT, 2012 

Although presentations to the Finance Committee and Selectmen remain—as does final approval of Annual Town Meeting in March—the Capital Expenditures Committee has agreed how to rank the close-to-50 capital projects under review for the FY14 budget. Down from an earlier high-water mark of 71 projects due to withdrawals, postponements and bundling, the Committee has agreed to previously-analyzed requests based on factors like safety, asset maintenance, quality of life and return on investment.

For more detailed information about the original 71 projects, see an earlier article on the subject in The Citizen, posted on December 11: https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2012/12/11/capital-expenditures-considers-71-priority-projects/

With a projected capital budget of about $1M, over $4M worth of projects have been sorted and assessed. The highest ranked request, ballistic vests, will be paid for by a grant, according to Police Chief Robert Bongiorno. Several projects— such as Minuteman Bikeway refurbishment and tennis court maintenance— were determined to be eligible for Community Preservation funds and were therefore removed from competition for a portion of the expected funding. Others—such as tree replanting in the Jenks Nature Trail and a Finance Department photocopier replacement—will be funded by unspent allocations from last year’s budget. Still others requests were bundled together—such as classroom renovations initiatives, carpeting and repainting within the schools, and energy projects. In some cases of bundling, only a portion of the entire request has been recommended.

The final way in which high-priority projects can be funded outside the $1M Capital Expenditures limit is by borrowing, otherwise known as“bonding.” The Finance Committee will advise—and the Selectmen will ultimately determine—which projects to recommend for this method of financing, although the most likely candidates appear to be a replacement ladder truck for the Fire Department ($830,000) and an emergency dispatch center upgrade ($504,690).

Below is the list of capital projects and requesting departments, ranked by Capital Expenditures in order of priority.These items are expected to make the cut for FY14, although it should be noted that the capital budget has not been finalized and could be higher or lower than the projected $1M:

  1. Ballistic vests (Police—expected to be paid for by a grant…………………..…. $6,000
  2. Rescue system phase 1 (Fire)……………………………………………………………     $13,000
  3. Ladder truck replacement  (Fire—possibly bonded)…………………………    $830,000
  4. Auto pulse rescue equipment  (Fire)…………………………………………………… $30,300
  5. Network and servers (Finance/IT)……………………………………………………….$14,000
  6. Postage machine (Finance/IT)…………………………………………………………..   $10,000
  7. Classroom renovation/space reconfiguration BUNDLE (Facilities)……….$168,000
  8. Vehicle and equipment replacement (DPW)………………………………………..$350,000
  9. Carpeting and repainting BUNDLE (Facilities)……………………………………….$80,000
  10. KVS financial software development (Finance/IT)…………………………………..$5,000
  11. Telephone system with voice mail renewal (Facilities)……………….……..….  $20,990
  12. Emergency dispatch center  (Police and Fire—possibly bonded)………….. $504,690
  13. Mechanical/plumbing system (Facilities—CPA Eligible)………….…..…………. $9,500
  14. Intercom system renewal  JGMS  (Facilities)………………………………….………$32,000
  15. Security systems (DPW)…………………………………………………………………..….  $45,000
  16. Network switch upgrade JGMS (School)…………………………………….………..$102,702
  17. Additional security camera (Facilities)……………………………………………….……$5,200
  18. Energy efficient projects BUNDLE (Facilities—partial funding likely)…….  $193,775

Note: This item marks the limit of the $1M, even with the two possibly bonded articles removed from the tally.

Additionally, two more CPA-eligible projects are possible:

36. Minuteman bike path refurbishment(DPW)………………………………………..$125,000
43. Tennis courts/school campus (DPW)………………………………………………… $122,000

And two projects using unspent allocations:

Tree planting in Jenks Nature Trail (DPW)………………………………………………$14,000
Photocopier replacement (Finance)………………………………………………………..$6,000

Finally, three water and sewer requests were approved. Water and sewer capital projects are considered separately:

Leak detection…………………………………………………………………………………….. $10,000
Sewer pump station program………………………………………………………………… $15,746
Water main improvement project………………………………………………………  $500,000

The Capital Expenditures Committee will present these rankings to the Finance Committee on the night of January 3. They will also present to the Selectmen on January 14.


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