DUNCAN – More than $13.9 million in capital improvement projects were reviewed Tuesday night by the Duncan City Council which gave its unofficial go-ahead to almost 92% of the requests from department chiefs.
Council must officially vote on the projects at its Dec. 8 meeting.
Some of the top projects include $1.1 million for electric work in the Westgate project, $500,000 for streets and draining improvements, $300,000 for cleaning and upgrading settling ponds, $170,000 for equipment and work at the Timbergate playground and $200,000 to replace the fishing dock at Lake Humphreys.
All of the projects, which total $12.7 million, will be funded by a permanent one-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1981. More than $1.1 million of the capital improvement requests were delayed until next year.
“We don’t ever have enough to cover all of the needs,” said City Manager Kimberly Meek. “We work with them (department heads) in advance on what’s needed. Over the years, it’s turned into a cooperative effort instead of them competing for the available dollars.”
Thirteen of the 25 city departments will likely receive money for all of their requests submitted to the city council, including police, streets, 911 dispatch and electric. The police department presented capital improvement projects totaling $496,501 while the electric department submitted the largest number of projects totaling $3.8 million. Other departments receiving money for all of their requested projects are water distribution, finance, city engineer, code enforcement, equipment services, swimming pools and senior citizens center.
Many of the high-dollar capital improvement projects include trucks, cars, various pieces of equipment and upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Meek monitors the capital improvement fund on a regular basis and works with the council to determine if enough money is available to begin the approved list of projects.
Duncan, which operates on a calendar year basis, is down 7% in total revenue for 2020 compared to the 2019 totals.
“Most of that is created by the pandemic,” Meek said.
The financial picture isn’t likely to improve. Meek is projecting another down year in 2021 with revenue declining an estimated 5% from its 2020 figures.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Meek told council members, “This (capital improvement project list) is a moving document as we look at the projects quarter by quarter. If you’re happy with the changes we made, we can run with it. If need be, we can make necessary cuts later on.”