Paving, sewers, landslides center of Ross capital improvements
Ross officials have created an expansive capital plan that calls for budgeting nearly $32 million over the next five years to pave roads, address stormwater and sewer system problems and improve parks.
The largest portion of spending in the 2020-24 capital improvement program outlined at the Aug. 5 commissioners meeting — $9.725 million — is earmarked for the annual street paving program. The township proposes spending $1.725 million in 2020 followed by $2 million in each of the four subsequent years.
Township officials plan to spend about $6.25 million over the next five years for sanitary sewer projects and about $1.75 million to improve the storm sewer system. Another $800,000 would be set aside for a landslide correction program.
Ross finance Director Dan Burdy said the capital plan can help the township avoid major unanticipated costs.
“This is trying to identify our big capital projects,” he said. “We try have a plan in place so we don’t have too many unexpected things come up.”
Nearly $2.275 million will be spent on replacing old equipment, including a $175,000 Peterbilt tilting trailer truck to haul the township’s heavy equipment. Ross officials anticipate receiving as much as $100,000 in state grants to offset the cost of the new vehicle.
“As we grow and start doing slides and other work like that, this is a necessary piece of equipment for us to have,” said Mike Funk, the township’s director of public works.
The commissioners are expected to OK the tilt truck at the next board meeting to ensure a quicker delivery.
Funk noted that because so many municipalities order equipment after their budgets are approved late in the year, there often is a significant lag time before it is delivered.
“We ordered dump trucks in December 2018, and probably won’t get them until February 2020,” Funk said.
Other items the township expects to purchase or replace in the next five years include body cameras and new bulletproof vests for the police department. Officials expect to receive about $44,500 in grants toward the estimated $89,000 cost for the cameras, and $34,250 from grants to help pay the $68,500 needed for the new vests.
The plan calls for about $6 million over five years be spent on so-called multimodel transportation projects, which include installation or improvements to sidewalks, trails and pathways.
To develop the capital improvement plan, department heads are asked to submit a prioritized list of equipment or projects they would like to undertake, said Burdy.
“Everybody knows that there is only so much money to go around,” Burdy said. “By asking the department to rank the items they submit, we can try to determine what should be done now and what we might be able to put off.”
Burdy said the amount of money allocated in the plan is determined by estimating the revenue the township expects to receive from property and earned income taxes.
“We’ve had a nice little uptick in revenue from both of those taxes from housing development, like the one at the former Highlands County Club,” he said.
The board is expected to vote on whether to approve the draft of the capital plan at its Aug. 19 meeting. If the draft is approved, a public hearing will be scheduled before a final version of the plan is considered for adoption.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .