New London may spend up to $846,000
By Scott Bellile
The New London Capital Projects and Equipment Committee plans up to $846,000 in spending this year.
The 2018 capital projects and equipment list was approved by the committee on Jan. 17. The city council will vote on it on Feb. 13.
The city’s capital projects fund is a 10-year need-assessed-based list of projects and equipment purchases, according to New London Finance Director Judy Radke.
“It gives the City an idea of the financial commitment necessary to meet these Capital needs to continue to improve infrastructure, meet changing regulations and replace Equipment,” she said in an email Monday, Jan. 22.
The capital equipment general fund totals $541,792 while the projects fund sits at $304,081, Radke said.
New London Mayor Gary Henke said some projects will improve public safety while others will help the city operate more efficiently.
The full capital projects and equipment list is as follows. The explanations for each item were provided by the respective city department head.
• 1-ton pickup truck ($30,000) – To replace a 1991 Ford Super Duty truck.
• Hot patch asphalt heater with stainless steel box ($26,000) – The box would be inserted in the 1-ton pickup and used to lay hot asphalt rather than cold patch into potholes.
• Sidewalk projects ($25,000) – To be determined are which sidewalks to repair this year.
Parks and Recreation
• Kayak/canoe launch off North Water Street ($150,000) – An accessible kayak/canoe launch would be installed on city-owned property along the Wolf River east of New London Utilities. If state grant money is left after the downtown river wall repair project, it will go toward the launch.
• Lawn tractor with attachments for mowing, sweeping and snow blowing ($59,000) – To replace a 1999 Toro lawn tractor and sweeper. Last year the city bought a similar unit. Having two would speed up street and sidewalk cleanup.
• Three-quarter-ton pickup truck with plow ($36,000) – Would replace a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 and include a plow for snow removal.
• Garbage box with compactor arm and trashcans ($27,000) – Emptying 55-gallon trashcans at parks once or twice a week takes all day for two parks staffers. An employee was injured recently while lifting a can. The automated compactor arm would make trash pickup speedier and safer by raising the cans into the three-quarter-ton pickup truck.
• Carpet replacement at New London Public Library ($17,564) – The upper level and the stairs to the lower level would receive new carpeting.
• Hatten Park stone wall preservation study ($15,000) – A consultant would survey the wall and provide cost estimates to eventually repair parts of the 1930s wall that encloses the park.
• Motor for gymnasium bleachers ($12,000) – Opening and closing the gym bleachers at the Washington Center must be done by maintenance staff. This would automate the process and allow part-time recreation staff to do it.
• Replacement pool vacuum ($10,000) – The robotic vacuum that sucks debris from the bottom of the swimming pool at New London Aquatic and Fitness Center is malfunctioning.
• Replace fire department west overhead door aprons ($6,500) – Fire trucks entering the west bays at the fire station drive over a ledge because the asphalt aprons have sunk more than 4 inches. The project would cut out 12 feet of asphalt in front of the doors and pour concrete in the approaches.
• Tile cleaning at pool ($6,000) – A cleaning service would reseal the tile grout on the men’s locker room floor at the aquatic and fitness center. Last year the flooring was cleaned in the men’s shower room, women’s locker and shower rooms, and lobby.
• Fitness room equipment replacement ($5,768) – Annual replacement of a piece of cardio equipment to keep machines in working order.
• Salt spreader for pickup truck ($5,000) – The salt spreader would attach to a pickup bed and hold more salt than the city’s current spreader.
• Exterior basement doors at New London Public Library ($4,510) – The emergency exit doors are rusted and difficult to open.
• Senior center freezer ($3,100) – A refrigerator died in recent months and was replaced. The new freezer would replace the matching freezer.
• Replace “Welcome to New London” signage fund ($10,000).
• Two police SUVs ($75,430) – Already approved by the city council last month to get a start on shopping. The heavily driven police squads are replaced every two years to prevent thousands of dollars in maintenance spending.
• Copy machine ($5,881) – NLPD pays $133 per month now to maintain its seven-year-old copy machine.
• Video cameras ($5,000) – Cameras would be installed near more business areas and intersections to aid police. Cameras installed already have solved a couple crimes.
• General weather siren maintenance ($3,000)
• Body cameras ($3,000) – Body cameras were introduced to New London Police Department in 2013 and are nearing their life expectancy.
• Self-contained breathing apparatuses ($112,500) – The first half of a breathing equipment purchase to be completed in 2019. The updated apparatus will keep New London Fire Department in compliance with regulations.
• Firefighter turn out gear equipment ($95,000) – Replacement helmets, masks, jackets, boots, pants and gloves for NLFD. The current equipment was purchased in 2008. Fire Chief Mark Wilfuer said it must be replaced every 10 years.
• Fire radio equipment ($3,000)
• 6×4 Gator replacement ($11,281)
• John Deere LX280 riding lawnmower replacement ($3,000)
• Yearly computer replacements and license renewals ($35,000)
• Plotter replacement ($6,000) – The city hall’s plotter computer printer is 18 years old. It is used to print pictures and banners.
New London Public Library
• Costs associated with 2017 Pearl Street building demolitions ($38,619) – In 2017 the New London City Council voted to pay half the cost of the library’s project to raze two vacant buildings across the street. The library paid the full $77,238 bill last year and is now requesting reimbursement for the city’s half.
Wheel tax projects
Radke also noted three projects that are likely to be completed this year not using capital project funds, but rather wheel tax dollars.
The three projects would be repairs to House Road in partnership with the town of Liberty ($15,000) and road improvements surrounding the railroad crossings on Industrial Loop Road ($52,204) and High Street ($44,580).
The estimated costs total $111,784. The 2018 wheel tax budget allows for an additional $68,000 in projects yet so more will be determined.
Last year the city council passed a $20 municipal vehicle registration fee effective 2018.