The City of Delaware has passed the 2021-25 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which highlights expected improvement projects coming to the city over the next five years, the timeline of those projects, and how they will be funded. Delaware City Council voted unanimously to approve the CIP following the fourth reading of the ordinance during its Oct. 12 meeting.
As a result of the existing COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s newest CIP faces significant challenges in budgeting for the projects highlighted in the plan. City Manager Tom Homan said during the ordinance’s first reading that 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 by 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 during the height of the statewide shutdown, is expected to fall short of the budget by approximately $145,000.
Homan said the approved plan shows a city that is remaining dedicated to investments in infrastructure and capital improvements despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. He also pointed out that while 2021 is balanced in the plan, years 2022-25 are not, which will require cutbacks, additional funding sources, or a combination of the two.
Road projects, near and dear to most citizens in the community, include the addition of a traffic signal at Carson Farms Boulevard and restrictions at the intersection of U.S. Route 23 and Hull Drive. Both projects are expected to begin in 2022. Per the CIP, the long-awaited improvements at The Point, which will include the widening of the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge to allow for an additional lane of traffic, is expected to be completed 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, which the CIP states will emphasize the river as a “prized natural resources,” is shown to be constructed in 2022.
The Delaware Police Department is expected to get needed upgrades to its equipment as part of the CIP. Body cameras will be purchased and worn by officers, and cruisers will receive upgraded dash cameras. The upgrades, along with the necessary storage equipment, is expected to cost the city $325,000 next year.
Of course, while the country’s battle against COVID-19 rages on, elements of the CIP are subject to change as it is difficult to project the impact of an ongoing national crisis. However, Homan said he expects the CIP to remain largely as was passed during the meeting.
“Obviously, with so many things that we are doing right now, there might be changes given what is presented,” Homan said. “But by and large, I think it will probably stay the way we presented it.”
For an in-depth look at the 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.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.