Delaware City Council heard the first reading of the 2021-25 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during its meeting Monday. The CIP highlights expected improvement projects coming to the city over the next five years, the timeline of those projects, and how they will be funded.
The CIP is defined by the city as a “budgetary tool enabling the city to financially plan for the larger purchases and projects,” according to City Manager Tom Homan in the submitted CIP.
Of course, COVID-19 has had a financial impact on many, and the city is no exception. Homan said many of the city’s funding sources have experienced reduced or delayed revenues. In particular, income taxes, which are the largest source of revenue in the general fund, has declined 2.4% as of July. A decline of 3%, which is estimated to total $488,750, is predicted for 2020 based on current collections.
Earnings on investments are also projected to be down by as much as 60%, resulting in a revenue decline of $572,437. Revenue from the gas tax, which took a significant hit due to the lack of drivers in previous months, is expected to fall short of the budget by approximately $145,000.
“Though the financial impacts of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge into 2021, the proposed plan shows that the city remains dedicated to its investments in infrastructure and capital improvements with 14% of the estimated general fund income tax collections representing $2,243,099,” Homan said in the CIP. “As council will note, 2021 is balanced. However, years 2022-25 are out of balance and will require cutbacks, additional funding sources, or a combination of the two.”
Among some of the notable road projects scheduled for Delaware over the five-year span is the addition of a traffic signal at Carson Farms Boulevard. The preliminary and final design for the intersection was funded in 2020, and the installation of the signal is expected to begin in 2022.
Changes are also expected to come to the Hull Drive and U.S. Route 23 intersection. Currently a full-access intersection, recent safety study findings have resulted in a change to a left-in, right-out intersection. With the change, left and through movements for drivers coming from Hull Drive will be prohibited. Construction on the intersection is expected to begin in 2022.
The Point project is still ongoing as Delaware citizens impatiently await much-needed relief to the notorious traffic congestion along U.S. Route 36 and state Route 37. The widening of the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge will allow for an additional lane in both directions, eliminating the westbound merge on U.S. Route 36. The completion of the project is anticipated to be in 2025.
Other projects included in the CIP is the construction of a river walk at Mingo Park. According to the CIP documents, the river walk “would separate pedestrian traffic from vehicular traffic, remove invasive species along the river, and allow access to the Olentangy River.” The project will be focused on the segment of the park where vehicles and pedestrians share the roadway. The trail is shown to be constructed in 2022.
“The initial effort of this project would lead the way in emphasizing the value of the river as a prized natural resource,” the CIP states.
With the calls for police reform continuing to rise, the Delaware Police Department is expected to get needed upgrades and additions to its equipment. In addition to upgrading the video cameras in police cruisers, which are out of warranty, the police department will add body cameras for its staff. Combined with the updates to the cruiser equipment, and the necessary storage additions to house the equipment, the improvements are estimated to cost the city $325,000 and are expected to come next year.
For a look at the entire CIP and all the city has planned through 2025, visit www.delawareohio.net and access the meeting agendas by clicking on the city council link under the “departments and services” tab. Adoption of the CIP is expected following the fourth reading of the document during council’s meeting on Monday, Oct. 12.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.