After weeks of presentations and discussions about cost, the ranking of proposed capital improvement sales tax projects has begun.
City Administrator Darren Lamb and city staff created a ranking system to organize the proposed projects. The rankings are designed to help the sales tax committee choose what projects to support if voters approve an extension of the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax.
The sales tax committee has been trying to pare down the list of projects to fit under the projected revenue estimates. Currently more than $19.8 million worth of projects are proposed and the tax is expected to generate $12.6 to $15.1 if voters approve an eight-year extension in April.
The ranking list is broken down into four categories. Projects were given more points for being a need instead of a want, a capital project instead of a maintenance project, a less costly project instead of a more expensive undertaking and by the amount of public support.
Each project was assigned a number in the four fields and given a total score. The scores ranged from 17 to 24 with preference being given to the highest-scoring projects.
New storm sirens, a pumper truck for the new fire station, new breathing equipment for the fire department, utility-line burial Downtown, paver replacement at Downtown intersections and the riverfront park project all received the highest scores.
The lowest-ranked project was a new multipurpose building proposed by the Fair Board. The project carries a $1.6 million price tag and is not considered a need. It had no public support so far, Lamb said.
The projects in the first tier scored the highest amount of points. The projects carry an estimated price tag of $13,084,600.
Lamb said the projects were mostly scored high because many are considered needs by the city and are affordable. The expensive projects have public support either via the city’s survey or the city’s comprehensive plan.
The Tier One projects are:
• Replacement weather alert sirens: $280,000;
• New fire pumper truck: $525,000;
• Fire department equipment replacement: $250,000;
• Buried utilities Downtown: $285,000;
• Downtown intersection repairs: $200,000;
• Riverfront park project: $250,000;
• Police department radio upgrade: $824,000;
• New fire station: $2,100,000;
• New industrial park: $1,000,000;
• Train depot repairs: $60,000;
• Fire department technology upgrades: $125,000;
• Airport upgrades: $150,000;
• Downtown Wi-Fi: $10,000;
• Waterworks building repairs: $50,000;
• Aquatics complex/auditorium renovations: $6,350,000;
• Parks roofing projects: $75,000;
• Parks pavilion projects: $200,000; and
• Ronsick Field upgrades: $350,000.
The projects in the second tier scored just below the first tier. The combined cost of Tier One and Tier Two would be an estimated $16,959,000.
Lamb said the projects dropped from the first tier by either not being urgent needs, being more costly or by having a lack of public support.
Tier Two projects are:
• City technology maintenance and library projects: $500,000;
• New water tower: $1,000,000;
• Public works storage facility: $200,000;
• New Downtown light standards: $75,000;
• Parks maintenance building: $200,000;
• Phoenix Park playground, $250,000;
• Hillermman tennis court repairs: $150,000;
• Energy-efficiency projects: $1,000,000;
• Fairgrounds main stage roof: $400,000; and
• Fairgrounds fencing: $100,000.
The third tier had the lowest scores. Most of the projects lost points because they were considered wants instead of needs. The total cost to do all three tiers would be $19,891,600.
• Sanitary sewer sliplining: $1,000,000;
• Electric car charging station: $20,000;
• Skate park second phase: $150,000;
• Krog Park playground: $75,000; and
• Fairgrounds multipurpose building: $1,600,000.
The list was far from perfect, Lamb said. He encouraged the committee members to review the list and discuss if a project should be bumped down or moved up.