City looks at refilling ‘piggy bank’

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Seal Beach officials discussed ways to pay for city projects at last week’s budget study session on the Capital Improvement Program (a five-year plan for Public Works projects). As previously reported, Seal Beach staff expects the city to take in $11,000 more than it spends in the next fiscal year. That’s out of a $30 million budget.

Public Works Director Steve Myrter told the City Council last week that the city has 38 previously approved Capital Improvement Projects with a total estimated cost of about $28 million and 14 new proposed projects with estimated costs of about $1.4 million. There are also $39 million unfunded projects on the five-year plan.

Those projects include, of course, the pier, repairing or replacing the roofs of several city buildings and improving the storm drain system.

Projects

The project to improve the storm drain system is in the planning stages. Myter said staff was investigating underground pipes and utilities. He said any kind of surprise, any kind of delay in a construction project when equipment is in the field, is extremely costly. “It’s vital to understand what we’re digging into,” Myter said. Staff has placed an estimated cost of $100,000 on the storm drain project.

Public Works will also be fixing or repairing roofs that leaked during recent storms. Myter said the Mary Wilson Library needs a brand new roof. The Seal Beach Police Headquarters roof is also in need of repairs. The lifeguard tower on the pier for example, is still being assessed. Myter expressed concern about the structural integrity of the building itself.

“The roof is leaking,” he said. “We’ve got to be sure that we get a structural repair that’ll last.”

As for the pier itself, about $4 million has been set aside in the city’s budget for repairing the pier, a project that is expected to be completed in 2019.

Finance Director/Treasurer Victoria Beatley said staff anticipates getting the money reimbursed by insurance.

Refilling the ‘piggy bank’

“What are we going to do to put money back in the piggy bank?” said District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton.

“We need to look aggressively for other funds,” Myter said. He specifically suggested looking for grant funds.

One of the ways the city is looking at funding projects is to issue debt. According to Beatley, that requires two steps: the city has to have a debt policy (which a consultant is working on) and a viable Joint Powers Authority. Seal Beach had a JPA, but it was linked to the city’s now-defunct redevelopment agency. Beatley said staff would bring a presentation on reviving the JPA at the June 12 City Council meeting. If the council approves of the proposal, the Joint Powers Authority would have to be approved by the California Department of Finance. According to Beatley, the city would then have to go to the debt market with a project that would have to be completed in three years.

Deaton suggested that the city should assign some of its oil revenues back into reserves.

City looks at refilling ‘piggy bank’