It's budget season. Sioux City's City Council has started what's typically about a two month process of crunching the numbers for the next fiscal year. Tuesday, they took a look at the proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2014 to 2018.
If you've never seen a CIP book before, it's basically 540 page, five year budget blue print. The CIP is different from the operating budget, showing instead money requests from city departments for new items or construction.
The new CIP totals almost $272 million of expense. That's up about $30 million from the previous five year plan. Total proposed expense for FY 2014 is almost $72 million dollars. That's up about 86%, $33 million, compared to FY 2013.
City officials call it a meat and potatoes budget.
"It's a heavy emphasis on maintaining our infrastructure, whether it be resurfacing roads, reconstruction of roads, new water mains, bridge repair, things along those lines," said Robert Padmore, assistant city manager.
One of the largest pieces of the new CIP is a $25 million incentive package for a new downtown casino. It's city TIF money, that would be handed over to developers to cut their costs.
While Penn National Gaming hasn't asked for city help with their two Hollywood proposals, Sioux City Entertainment's Hard Rock project calls for $22 million in TIF financing. Ho-Chunk Inc's Warrior project calls for $25 million.
City leaders call the investment a "guaranteed pay back."
"It's not like those are projects that won't carry themselves. I mean if Racing and Gaming approves them, we would assume they'll be good projects," said Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will ultimately select which casino is developed, by awarding a gaming license in April.
In the CIP book, a security upgrade is the top priority for officials at Sioux Gateway Airport. Airport director Curt Miller says they need upgrades to the system that manages doors, gates, and ID badges. Miller says software in the computer that runs the system is out of date, and isn't supported anymore.
"We're going to have to go back any buy new software, new computer, then look at what we need to make everything work again. Whether it's some actuators, card readers, or something," said Miller.
Cost is estimated at $400,000. The city would only be on the line for 10% of that, if federal funding can be secured for the remaining 90%.
Sioux City Transit says it's looking to start replacing buses. Some of them have been around since the late 80's, and have more than 570,000 miles on them.
City officials say ten buses need to be replaced. The federal government would pay between 83 to 90 percent of the cost for each bus. But, because of federal funding restrictions, city officials say they'll only be able to replace a few.
"If we are successful for one or two this next year, that is what we would be looking for," said Transit Fleet Purchasing Manager Mike Collett.
Also in the transit department's CIP proposal, repairs to the Transit Maintenance Facility roof and HVAC system.
If the city council approves it, a new Zamboni could be headed to Sioux City. City officials say the request is coming after one of their two machines broke down on the ice last year, causing them to a cancel a large event.
Officials would like to refurbish the older of the two Zambonis, using it as a reserve. Then, purchase a new one, giving them three total.
"Two of them would be based out of the Tyson Events Center. One would be based out of the IBP Ice Center," said Tyson Events Center Facilities Director Aran Rush.
Rush says having two Zambonis at the Tyson will also come in handy if the USHL changes their hockey rules. He says in coming years, teams may be required to use two ice resurfacers to shorten intermission time.
The city council will meet with heads of each department before approving the new CIP. They'll start on the operating budget January 29th. A public hearing to approve both is set for February 25th.
If you'd like to check out the CIP book yourself, click here.
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