COVID-19 financial impacts could affect Steamboat’s long-term capital improvement projects
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In addition to cuts to current city of Steamboat Springs’ projects and services, funding for some future projects is now uncertain due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s six-year capital improvement plan contains 89 capital projects, 34 of which are slated to be funded between 2020 and 2026. Twenty-five of those projects, however, which were said to be needed in the next six years, are now out of reach with current financial projections. City Finance Director Kim Weber presented the improvement plan Tuesday to Steamboat Springs City Council for review, discussion and direction.
City departments had submitted 61 project requests that require funding from 2021 to 2026, each of which were reviewed and ranked by the city’s management team.
City of Steamboat Springs capital improvement projects, 2021-2026:
89 total capital projects
28 total 2020 projects (no further allocation)
34 funded projects 2020 to 2026
2 partially funded projects
25 unfunded projects
*Number indicates rank of priority
1. Yampa River Core Trail bridge decking
2. Airport runway 14/32 rehabilitation
4. Police vehicle radio replacement
5. Yampa River restoration
6. U.S. Highway 40 west pedestrian connection
7. Howelsen Ice Arena locker room and rec program
8. 840 Yampa St. building roof
10. Transit hybrid bus battery replacement
13. Central Fire Station
17. City parking lot pavement maintenance program
18. General paving program
19. Park playground equipment
20. Ballfield improvements
21. Stormwater system improvements
22. U.S. 40 medians improvement project
26. Steamboat Boulevard/Mount Werner Road intersection
28. Tennis court resurfacing
29. Transit operations center solar array
42. Downhill Drive and U.S. 40 intersection (2021 and 2022 only)
46. Pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities (2021 only)
51. Parks facility storage building
52. Howelsen Hill tubing
3. Airport pavement rehabilitation – seal coat and markings
9. Transit bus refurbishment
11. 840 Yampa St. building elevator
14. Mountain Fire Station rebuild
15. Fire department apparatus – refurbish 2002 aerial apparatus
16. Transit coach replacement
23. Fire department Type I engine
24. Transit Operations Center roof
25. Fire department apparatus – ambulance
27. Dr. Rich Weiss Park improvements
30. Soda Creek Bridge – 11th Street Bridge
31. Soda Creek Bridge – Oak Street Bridge
32. Airport house demolition
33. Howelsen Skate Park replacement
Building use and excise tax projections were reduced by 20% for 2020, with no anticipation to transfer general fund reserves. From there, staff reduced projections by another 5% for 2021, according to Weber.
“COVID-19 is already having an effect on our ability to complete capital improvement projects,” Weber said. “… it certainly has compounded our funding issues.”
The city’s management team made additional proposed changes to move projects around and accomplish goals that weren’t being met in the initial ranking, Weber said. Those changes included reducing the request for the general paving program by $300,000 in 2021, 2022 and 2023; funding the Downhill Drive and U.S. Highway 40 intersection improvements in 2021 and 2022; funding the pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities in 2021 but not in outlying years; and funding the parks facility storage building and Howelsen Hill tubing area.
“By moving these projects around in priority order, we were able to fund 36 projects from 2021 to 2026 in addition to the 28 that are already appropriated in 2020,” Weber said.
Reducing the paving program by $300,000 brings it to a little more than $1.3 million, according to Weber, but that’s still an increase of about $800,000 to what was spent in 2020. Council held discussions about the pending pavement analysis, which will be completed by the end of the year. Those will be reviewed, and adjustments to the budget may be made as needed, Weber said.
Similarly, council requested to review the business plan for the Howelsen Hill tubing project before moving forward but wanted to keep it as a funded project at this time.
Council President Jason Lacy said ballfield improvements ranked high with staff due to the city’s contract with Triple Crown. The contract specifies an annual $90,000 spend on improvements. With the contract set to expire this year, the improvements will depend upon the contract’s renewal.
There are two projects that are only partially funded and 25 more that were noted as needed in the next six years but still lack funding, according to Weber.
The proposed capital improvement plan would require an appropriation of $17.5 million by the city for 2021.
None of the council members proposed changes to the projects. Council will have another opportunity to review the projects as the 2021 budgeting season begins Oct. 6.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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