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Park Rapids to play catch up with CIP

Park Rapids city staff is proposing an aggressive Capital Improvement Plan over the next five years.

"We've been neglecting our CIP equipment" and other projects for years, said city administrator Bill Smith. He said the city needs to catch up on those projects.

A CIP is a document designed to anticipate capital improvement expenditures and schedule them over a five-year period so they may be purchased in the most efficient and cost effective method possible. It is a general guide that is updated annually.

Smith listed some benefits of a CIP, including a systematic evaluation of projects, lowering borrowing costs, preserving infrastructure and an economic development tool.

It also gives the city council a tool to efficiently use public funds, he said.

The proposal shows about $6.89 million for 2010, which includes bonds for the Southwest and Main Avenue infrastructure projects.

In 2011, $3.84 million in projects and equipment is proposed, along with $2.37 million in 2012, $5.27 million in 2013 and $2.73 in 2014.

The proposals aren't glamorous.

Most of the proposed projects are infrastructure work in the city, along with upgrading computers, public works vehicles, squad cars and fire department equipment.

Also, some of the financing for the projects will come from assessments or grants.

"This is our best effort for an orderly plan," Smith said.

Councilman Dave W. Konshok noticed there were no parks projects included in the CIP.

"As we can, I think we should continue working on the parks with our discretionary funds and keep up with the parks," he said.

Mayor Nancy Carroll agreed that the parks are an important part of the city.

The council also noted that there wasn't anything about the water plan or wells included.

Smith said that the city wasn't far enough along on the water plan to include anything as far as costs.

"We'll begin talking about what direction the city wants to go," he said.

The city's current outstanding debt with government debt and water bonds is $17.9 million.

The CIP is a working document and can be updated as needed. It is just used as a guideline.

The proposed CIP will return to the council for a second reading and approval at the July 27 council meeting.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561