Westerville News & Public Opinion

City earmarks extra $1.7M for capital improvements

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The city of Westerville ended 2012 with $2.4 million more in cash than expected, and a portion of that was turned around for future capital improvements.

Westerville City Council at its Feb. 5 meeting approved the transfer of $1.7 million from the city's general fund to its capital improvement fund for future capital improvement projects.

The city knew it would end the year with a positive operating budget balance, and after finding that more money would be left over after the year's expenditures were made, city leaders met in January to decide what to do with the additional funds, said Westerville Finance Director Lee Ann Shortland. It was determined that 75 percent of the carryover money -- the $1.7 million -- should be put into an account and saved for future capital improvement opportunities.

City Council Chairman Mike Heyeck said the overage and transfer of funds into the capital improvement fund provided an exciting opportunity for the city.

"This is great. This is like a savings account for our construction," Heyeck said.

Public Service Department project

Also at the Feb. 5 meeting, council heard the first reading of legislation to allocate an additional $857,050 for expansion and renovation of the city's Public Service Department complex at 350 Park Meadow Road.

City Council allocated just over $3 million in the 2013 budget to expand the service complex and renovate its existing facilities.

Because of the low bids received for the project, the city's administration recommended to council that the updating of the service complex also include upgraded landscape, a "facelift" to the existing building to make it match the new construction, new offices and a vehicle lift, said Public Service Director Frank Wiseman.

While the expansion of the project requires a transfer of funds to the capital-improvement fund at this point in the year, it is likely that the capital improvement fund will have plenty in reserves at the end of the year to cover the additional cost of the service complex improvements, said City Manager Dave Collinsworth.

"There's almost certain with our capital improvement projects for the year that there will be some leftover," Collinsworth told council. "This is one of the first projects out of the shoot, so it's impossible to know which project will have that overage."

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