$1.4 million for road work tops Laconia CIP list for 2014-2015; fire station #9

LACONIA — The Planning Board this week endorsed the recommendations of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Committee for capital outlays in the 2014-2015 municipal budget, which will be referred to City Manager Scott Myers for his consideration.

Each year the CIP Committee reviews the requests for capital expenditures presented by each of the city departments then, after scoring each request, ranks the proposed projects in order of priority. The recommendations provide guidance to the city manager in preparing the budget presented to the City Council in March.

Although ranked ninth by the CIP Committee, the City Council has indicated that the renovation and expansion of the Central Fire Station will be among its top priorities in the coming year. The project is estimated to cost $4.1-million, which would be funded by the sale of general obligation bonds. City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that the debt service on the borrowing could be financed while keeping total principal and interest payments within the annual limit of $3.2 million set to comply with the tax cap.

A traffic signal at the junction of Court Street and Fair Street, where the construction of the Advanced Auto Parts store created an opportunity to reconfigure a dangerous intersection, at a cost of $25,000 ranked 12th among the committee's priorities.

Again this year, street repairs was the highest priority for the CIP Committee, for which it recommended appropriating $1.4 million, $100,000 more than was budgeted this year. The committee recommended increasing funds for drainage improvements throughout the city by $20,000, to $100,000 next year. Four water projects, including upgrading hydrants, costing $285,000 were among the committee's top ten priorities along with $50,000 for upgrading sewer mains.

The list includes $50,000 for sidewalk repair and construction and an equal amount for replacing fencing and guardrails. The committee recommends spending $170,000 to replace vehicles at the Department of Public Works and $70,000 for two cruisers for the Police Department.

In 2013-2014, $1,874,436 was appropriated for capital outlays and another $850,000 was borrowed to construct the Weirs Community Park and replace the Smith Track at Opechee Park.