From one budget to the next: That’s the path the Cheshire Town Council will be following.
On June 9, Town Manager Sean Kimball presented the 2020-2021 Proposed Capital Budget to the Council. Kimball, as he did during deliberations for the Town’s fiscal year operating budget, made clear that the capital expenditures, and the decisions as to what to recommend for funding, will be greatly influenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic and financial fallout from it. Also, Kimball mentioned that two relatively new Town initiatives have also been influential in forming the Capital Budget.
“The newly-chartered School Modernization Committee and the decision over what to do with the Chapman Property over at Bartlem were two things we were really excited to see come to fruition over this year,” Kimball said. “Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and all that has happened, we haven’t been able to move forward with a lot of what we wanted too.”
Kimball presented Cheshire’s five year capital budget plan for both Town departments and the Board of Education—a proposal that will ask the Council to adopt a roughly $67,859,000 budget plan. According to Kimball, this is an increase of $9,218,000 over last year’s adopted five-year capital plan.
“The net capital costs, which is an important factor, is around $7.7 million, which will be offset by grants or any available cash funding. This reduces the net capital total cost to around $60 million,” Kimball added. “For this year, which is fiscal year ‘21, the recommended ‘first year’ project appropriations total about $12.1 million, which is an increase of about $598,000 over fiscal year ‘20 adopted capital budget.”
There are currently 16 projects slated for this fiscal year under the proposal. These projects include a variety of projects, from large-ticket items such as HVAC and locker improvements for the Cheshire Police Department, which would cost roughly $1.4 million, to smaller ones like street light pole replacements, which would cost approximately $110,000.
Projects Kimball hopes will take place over the next five years include everything from town technology improvements to property upgrades.
“There are a few administration, finance, (and) technology developments that will total about $3.6 million; a few public property projects which will cost about $3.8 million; and Public Works projects which will total $19.1 million,” he added.
Kimball then highlighted a few Board of Education projects that he hopes will be implemented in the next five years, including school cafeteria renovations, ADA code compliance work, and window replacements for all schools in the district.
The Town Council plans several Capital Budget workshops over the course of the next few weeks, and documents pertaining to the meetings are available by visiting www.cheshirect.org.