As the fiscal year begins to wind down, the City of Plant City reallocated some of its funding to get projects underway and clean up some loose ends.
Money was the name of the game Monday evening as commissioners proved the city was in a fiscally sound place as it cleaned up the budget for the remaining fiscal year and reallocated funds to jump start and revamp several projects.
While the items were quickly approved via the consent agenda, City Manager Bill McDaniel went in depth with some of the items for those listening to the virtual meeting.
“Some of these projects have been on the books for quite a while,” McDaniel said. “We’ve allocated money to them previously. We’ve been doing housekeeping, these are by and large projects we have had in the pipes for quite some time. So this is just reallocating funds to kind of clean up house and get projects finished or moving in this fiscal year since we are nearing its end. I think our ability to do so is also a reflection of the fact that we manage and govern fiscally conservatively and we always operate under the mode of ‘we do that which we can pay for.’ Certainly we’ve been in a time of fiscal gain because of the good economy and that certainly gives us the strength to continue on with these types of projects.”
The Roseland Park project was funneled more funding after commissioners reallocated $1,010,722 from residual resources in the Street RR&I Fund. According to the City of Plant City, those funds are available “due to projects being completed under budget over the years.”
Capital Improvement Projects also had budget adjustments to move funding around. Several projects managed by the engineering department saw an increase, including two parking lots in the CRA — the North Municipal Lot and Mahoney Lot. The lots received an additional $151,898, which the city said will help finalize the refurbishments including storm drainage, lights and landscaping.
The Dog Park Pedestrian Bridge and Parking Lot project received an additional $166,000, which was taken from other parking lots in the asset maintenance account. The Cemetery Retaining Wall on Wheeler Street took $67,831 from the streets and sidewalk projects so that it could be completed within the engineer’s estimate. Brewer Park also received $165,000 of reallocated funds to establish an outdoor Fitness System, which was funded with CRA revenues. A 10 to 14-station fitness system will be installed along the half mile.
Franklin Street has a drainage plan underway with the city and received a transfer of $740,735, which includes “the additional $620,000 presented in May 2018 that has not been posted.” Roseland Park received a transfer of $1,214,000 so that it had enough funding for the engineers estimate of $1,867,186 plus $184,000 for CEI.
Mike Sansone Park is also getting an upgrade. The empty space between fields number two and three will be used to add more batting cages for players to use during practices and warmups. A 70-foot, three-tunnel batting cage will be built in the location. The lowest responsive bid was from Turbo Link International, Inc. for $78,500.00. The money is already available through the Park Improvements project funds. This was also announced as the first project to utilize fees paid to the city by the independent youth sports programs using various parks.
The city’s Water Reclamation Facility also got a win Monday evening when commissioners agreed to replace two aging 4,000-gallon Sodium Hypochlorite storage tanks. The tanks have a short lifespan for the storage of the 12 percent bleach and once installed the new system will allow the city to “ continue providing safe drinking water to our community,” according to the City of Plant City. The lowest responsive bid for the project was Odyssey Manufacturing Company at a cost of $77,700.
With the impact of COVID-19 just starting to surface and the economy teetering on the edge of a knife McDaniel said they are looking forward as the city makes each and every decision.
“The only downside, if you will, is we are very much looking toward the road ahead and we really have to see what impacts the COVID-19 will have on the fiscal picture on a large scale. We’ve started to see some of that, but this is still ongoing so a lot is still up in the air. Right now it’s the recurring costs area I’m most concerned about. In my mind, this isn’t a time to add a lot of new positions because those are recurring costs. It’s not the time to take on other large-scale recurring costs. The expenditures like ones on agenda (Monday) night are one-time ordeals. You budget and you can save, and then you can confidently make decisions like what we did this week. But we aren’t just jumping into things without laying everything out and examining every possibility. We are making decisions that improve the quality of life in Plant City in one way or another.”