Bridgeport Council previews six-year Capital Facilities Plan

Prepared by Highland Associates

Kurt Daniso, Highlands Associates IT
BRIDGEPORT – Council members got a first look at the updated Capital Improvements Plan compiled for the City of Bridgeport by planner Kurt Danison, owner of Highland Associates, a local IT consulting service, at their regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, March 15. In a comprehensive 123-page document, Danison discussed a detailed breakdown of past revenues and expenses and explained how and what those figures translated into for future city projects.

BRIDGEPORT – Council members got a first look at the updated Capital Improvements Plan compiled for the City of Bridgeport by planner Kurt Danison, owner of Highland Associates, a local IT consulting service, at their regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, March 15.
In a comprehensive 123-page document, Danison discussed a detailed breakdown of past revenues and expenses and explained how and what those figures translated into for future city projects.
“It provides a clear-eyed view of the city’s financial picture,” said Danison, “and allows the public to see what is coming down the pike.”
Danison said he has worked with the City of Bridgeport off and on since the 1990’s and the current CFP is its fourth or fifth update.
“The more information we can provide, the better the public input we get,” Danison said.
The Capital Facilities Plan was a product by the Growth Management Act and was designed to allow communities like Bridgeport to apply for low interest loans from a public trust fund for infrastructure projects.
As an example of low interest Danison used an interest rate of one-percent compared to a conventional loan rate of five or six percent. For a low-income community like Bridgeport, Danison said the occasion of a substantial loan forgiveness rate would make the loan into a grant.
“It is one of the best funding sources local communities have,” said Danison. “It all really comes down to a community’s ability to grow and prosper economically.”
In the absence of state funds communities must sometimes look to taxes and utility rates to raise needed capital or repay the costs of needed infrastructure repairs.
Bridgeport has 1,000 to 1,500 utility connections, Danison estimated. Paying for expensive capital projects through rate increases is an unpopular option.
“Omak is a good example,” said Danison. “Five years ago, their monthly sewer rate was $29; now it’s $70.”
Aside from giving the city an understanding of what its future infrastructure needs are for such items as parks, sewer, streets and water, it also allows adequate time for planning, cost estimates, and fund sourcing, a lengthy process.
As an example, the Bridgeport reservoir needs some repair that could cost $500,000, said Danison. “It needs to be done by 2020 so we have to start now to have the money by 2020.”
“You need a year to plan a project,” said Danison of a typical infrastructure project. “You need another year for engineering for costs, and you need a year to find the money.
“Bridgeport is in pretty good position because they have been able to take care of their infrastructure pretty well,” Danison said.
The updated CRP will help the city set priorities particularly considering what is happening now on the federal level.
“Federal funds may be taken off the table, and we have no idea what the Legislature is going to do,” said Danison. “None of what is happening bodes well for low-income communities.”
The Bridgeport Planning Commission will review the CFP at its April 6 meeting and open the plan for public comment when it meets May 4.
 

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