The Herndon mayor and Town Council deferred action on the proposed fiscal year 2005-2010 capital improvement program Tuesday night, deciding instead to continue the public hearing until May 25. The council is expected to also take action on the ordinance governing the levying of taxes — the town's main funding mechanism for the budget and CIP, which was deferred when the budget was adopted at the end of April.
In part, staff noted that the town manager's proposed CIP differed from the one eventually recommended by the Planning Commission, which included funding the final phase if the community center renovations this coming fiscal year instead of in FY '06 by borrowing the needed $3.5 million from the water and sewer fund.
However, the additional time may not have been needed. No citizens spoke on the proposal during the public hearing. In fact, the entire hearing took less than 20 minutes, with the only objections coming from Councilman Dennis Husch, who renewed his opposition to borrowing from the water and sewer fund as well as taking issue with staff for not reducing operation costs in its fiscal forecast and for changing the debt per capita ratio formula without consulting the council first.
"Borrowing money from the water and sewer fund, while it may not be a legal problem, it is an ethics problem," Husch said. "We collect money for one thing and we're using it for another. It violates trust."
THE PROPOSED CIP features a total of 53 projects, with 11 proposed to be funded in FY '05 and 10 projects proposed for FY '06, said Michele O'Hare, a planner with the Department of Community Development.
"Fiscal year 2005 and 2006 are balanced [as far as projected expenditures and revenues], but fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 are not in balance. It may be an indication we may not be able to do all the projects," O'Hare said.
If approved, the CIP would provide funding this fiscal year for improvements to the Jefferson Street Park as well as Runnymede Park; complete the community center renovations; provide some funding for the cultural arts center for value engineering and to see if retrofitting the existing structure for a theater is possible; completing the security system and providing furnishings for the new police station; some downtown street improvements; equipment replacement; minor road construction; some storm drainage improvements; building maintenance and upgrading of information technology.
O'HARE SAID staff was also projecting three bond issues covering the six-year period of the CIP. The first in FY '06 for $4 million, which would include $3.5 million to pay back the water and sewer fund loan, $150,000 to cover the police station security and furnishings and $350,000 for the storm drainage improvements.
The second bond is expected to be in FY '08 in the amount of $7 million, which would provide $3 million toward the Station Street parking garage, repayment of $270,000 of the water and sewer loan and $3,730,000 for various other CIP items.
The final bond, $5 million in FY '10 is dedicated to the cultural arts center.