Future Infrastructure Plans Not ‘Realistic,’ York Chairman Says

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The York County Board of Supervisors at its April 7 work session (Marie Albiges/WYDaily)
The York County Board of Supervisors at its April 7 work session (Marie Albiges/WYDaily)

A need for a new elementary school, a new social services building and a new administration building has York County supervisors re-evaluating the process for outlining future infrastructure projects.

The Board of Supervisors was presented with the county’s proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) — a 10-year plan for infrastructure, maintenance and repair projects —at a work session Tuesday.

Each year, the board adopts what it believes are the most important county projects that need to be funded in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2016, while keeping an eye on the proposed projects for the next nine years.

This year’s proposed CIP calls for a total of $260.5 million over 10 years – or an average of about $26 million per year – for general capital projects, stormwater projects, vehicle maintenance, solid waste and sewer projects and school projects.

Projects proposed for fiscal year 2016 total $21.1 million, while the CIPs for 2014 and 2015 totaled $8.85 million and $20.5 million, respectively.

Chairman Tom Shepperd Jr. said he was concerned the projects listed in the out-years did not accurately portray what the county could feasibly fund.

“For the Board of Supervisors — this one and the ones in the future — we need to have a constrained CIP,” Shepperd said, calling the $260.5 million figure an “eye-opener.”

“That’s adding two additional budgets inside a 10-year period,” he said. “That’s not realistic.”

Some of the larger projects proposed to be funded this year include two rescue fire trucks and one pumper truck for the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety with a total price tag of $1.9 million; $4.86 million for repairs and replacements at Yorktown Elementary; and $2.9 million for the renovation of hallways in Bethel Manor Elementary.

Down the line, a $6.8 million social services building and a $13.4 million administration and finance building are proposed for fiscal year 2021, along with the expansion of the Yorktown Library during fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

In fiscal year 2017, plans are in place for the$4.8 million replacement of the Grafton Fire Station and a new $23 million elementary school to address the overcapacity in the Yorktown and Magruder zones.

Although the CIP looks at projects over 10 years, the only projects guaranteed to come to fruition are those slated for the next fiscal year.

The Board of Supervisors has several work sessions planned over the next few weeks to discuss the proposed CIP and the rest of the proposed $133.4 million budget before voting to adopt it May 5. The next work session will be April 14, with a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. April 23.

Deputy County Administrator Vivian McGettigan is currently working on a comprehensive long-term finance model that would enable the county to better address proposed infrastructure projects in future years and would help “sharpen the pencil” when it comes to deciding where to allocate money for projects and repairs, Interim County Administrator Mark Carter said.

In addition, the county is looking to form a committee made up of county staff and school division staff that would evaluate building maintenance “so that we can both hopefully come to an understanding about how buildings are evaluated and how the maintenance needs are scheduled,” Carter said.

Supervisor Walt Zaremba said the county needed to stress its “fiscal tightness” when assessing the life expectancy of a building such as the county administration building on Ballard Street in Yorktown, which has been standing since the 1930s when it was built as a schoolhouse.

Debbie Morris, the county’s controller, said she and her staff tried to closely model last year’s adopted CIP.

“We’re going to have to really closely monitor what we’re spending for our CIP, because we have a lot more needs than we have money,” she said. “Our goal as always is to make sure that we use our limited resources to achieve the best outcome that we can for the county.”

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