City reviews capital improvement plans

CARLSBAD — On May 12, City Council reviewed a preliminary capital improvement program, or CIP, budget of $68.8 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The capital improvement spending plan for 2009-2010 presented to the council includes 90 new or continuing projects. Construction or renovation of major infrastructure, such as roads, buildings, and sewer, water or drainage facilities is a top priority. The budget also includes new restrooms at Pine Park, a new police and fire training facility, and the Alga Norte Park and Aquatic Center. The Carlsbad City Council recently authorized the grading of the park site, the first step in its eventual construction.
The council is scheduled to vote on the final capital improvement budget June 16, when it also considers adoption of the city’s operating budget for the next fiscal year. The preliminary capital improvement budget for 2009-2010 can be viewed at Carlsbad City Hall, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive or at www.carlsbadca.gov/finance. A citizens’ budget workshop will be held June 4 at 1635 Faraday Ave.
In all, the city’s capital improvement program includes 225 projects at a cost of approximately $433.7 million. Individual projects included in the capital improvement program still must be authorized by City Council before proceeding. When considering projects, the city looks not only at the availability of funding for construction, but also at funding for ongoing maintenance and operations.
About 30 percent of the city’s capital improvement budget comes from developer fees. Construction of both homes and commercial buildings has slowed due to the recession and because fewer pieces of property are left in the city that can be developed. The fiscal year 2009-2010 capital improvements budget takes this funding decrease into account by staying the course with previously identified projects and not adding any major new ones.
Under the voter-approved growth management plan, the city has strict limits on how much growth is allowed and under what circumstances. Under the growth management plan, approximately 90 percent of the city’s growth has already occurred. Next fiscal year, the city expects 74 homes to be built in the city. Over the past five years, an average of 638 homes were built in the city each year. Commercial construction is also expected to slow to about 245,000 square feet in 2009-2010, compared to an average of 1.1 million square feet annually over the past five years.
Among the projects in the 2009-2010 capital improvement budget to receive new or additional funding are:
— Agua Hedionda Channel: Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of sediment will be dredged from the Agua Hedionda and Calavera Creek channels; and 6.53 acres of wetlands will be acquired and restored. The total project cost is $5.2 million, and $3.1 million is allocated in the 2009-2010 capital improvement budget.
— El Camino Real widening from Tamarack Avenue to Chestnut Avenue: Total project cost is $12.3 million, with $4.7 million to be allocated next year. The project will include retaining walls along both sides of the roadway.
— El Camino Real Medians: Missing segments of the medians along El Camino Real will be constructed. The total cost of the project is $5.2 million; $1.1 million is being allocated in 2009-1010.

— Vista/Carlsbad Interceptor and Agua Hedionda Lift Station Replacement: A parallel sewer interceptor system will be constructed to accommodate existing and future sewer flows from the cities of Vista and Carlsbad. The city of Carlsbad will manage the project. The total cost of the project is $47.4 million, of which $14.7 million will be funded by Carlsbad, with the remainder of $32.7 million to be funded by Vista.
— Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: The capital improvement budget includes $11.2 million for several water and wastewater construction/replacement projects.
— Hydroelectric Pressure Reducing Station at Maerkle Reservoir: This electricity generating project will provide a renewable energy source for the city. The cost estimate for this project is $1.25 million.
— Pavement Management: The 2009-2010 capital improvement budget includes $4.5 million for sealing and overlay of city streets.
— Concrete Repair: This is a companion program to the pavement management program and includes repairs to curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Both pavement and concrete replacements can be accomplished at the same time, maximizing efficiencies and reducing inconvenience to Carlsbad residents. The budget includes $350,000 for this program.

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