Capital expenses down, debt up

For proposed 2019 municipal budget
Fri, 03/30/2018 - 9:30am

The New Shoreham Town Council listened to Town Manager Ed Roberge’s step-by-step presentation of the capital improvements budget and debt service for fiscal year 2019 at its March 21 meeting. The discussion was part of the Council’s budget hearings concerning the proposed municipal budget of $14,499,075.

Proposed expenses for capital improvements total $563,110, a reduction of $40,059, from the 2018 budget. The debt service for 2019 is $2,197,368, an increase of $103,216 over the 2018 debt service. 

The town’s capital program includes $8,000 for replacement of lights and light poles at Old Harbor; $15,000 for replacement of aid-to-navigation buoys at Old Harbor; $102,000 for replacement of the water line and maintenance needs at the Coast Guard Station; $5,000 for moving a public water line from the boat ramp to the proposed new dinghy dock; $29,525 for police vehicles; $20,500 for a specialized washer and dryer unit for Fire and Rescue; $40,000 for building improvements at the Medical Center; $47,000 for Highways Department needs; $200,000 for the Block Island School’s building and roof repairs; $11,085 for replacement of the Island Free Library’s server; $30,000 for a new Recreation Dept. truck; $25,000 for library renovations; and $30,000 for technology upgrades at Town Hall.

The 2019 debt service is impacted by bond issuance for renovations of the Beach Pavilion, Doctor’s house, and Mill Pond Bridge. Included in the 2019 budget is an interest-only payment on the $1.8 million BIPCo purchase note, with the expectation that the note is repaid in full prior to November of 2018. 

Library roof

Councilor Sven Risom said  $200,000 was allocated for the school’s roof and building repairs, but no capital funds were budgeted for the library’s roof in FY 2019. 

“The roof is leaking on books, in more than one place,” said Risom.

Risom noted that the Planning Board only recommended $100,000 for the school, to which Roberge said an additional $100,000 was budgeted to “accelerate” work on capital priorities.

Facilities Manager Sam Bird said $30,000 is budgeted in his building envelopes list for library roof repairs this year. 

The library’s roof is 16 years old, and in fair condition. The Library’s Trustees made a capital request to the Planning Board in October for $25,000 in 2020, and $25,000 in 2021 for a total of $50,000 for replacing the roof in 2021. The Trustees said replacement would need to be done within the next four years.

Library Director Kristin Baumann told The Times that, “We would all agree that we do not want to repair, and then replace, the roof if that translates into throwing money away. I do not have the expertise, or the purview, to compare and contrast building priorities and projects. That is why we have a Planning Board, Facilities Manager and public works director.”