South Portland council quickly OKs $4.3M capital spending plan

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SOUTH PORTLAND — When City Manager Jim Gailey asked the City Council last week to fast-track next year’s $4.3 million Capital Improvement Plan and add $125,000 in funds for more street paving, he didn’t expect it would be passed Wednesday night with no discussion.

“Wow,” Gailey said, shortly after the CIP was quickly passed. “Thank you. We’re off to the races.”

After the unanimous vote, councilors said there was no discussion at the meeting, which included several of the city’s department heads, because the proposal was taken up at a workshop last week.

“Perhaps someone should mention that the council is not spending $4 million this lightly,” Councilor Tom Blake said during the televised meeting. “I want to make sure that (viewers) at home know that we don’t have any questions, because we asked a lot of questions last week.”

“That is true,” Mayor Tom Coward said. “We had a very in-depth discussion … right down to the paper clips on some of these.”

Last week, Gailey asked the council to vote on the CIP in April, rather than when it is normally approved in June, so crews could take advantage of the early construction season.

The CIP includes $725,000 for street paving, which Gailey said is minor compared to the city’s needs, estimated to be between $8 million and $10 million. About 150 streets are in critical condition, he said last week.

New furnaces for City Hall and the public works building are also included, but Gailey said they will not be purchased until the fall, when a municipal energy audit is expected to get underway.

New windows and brick work at Central Fire Station were also approved, for about $165,000.

Also, $50,000 is included for a Mill Creek transit hub, which is expected to be lighted and heated and include bicycle racks, benches and landscaping. Gailey said the hub, which will be behind City Hall at Ocean and Thomas streets, will be designed so it can moved.

Other significant projects and equipment purchases include:

• $1 million for a combined sewer overflow clarifier dome and equipment.

• $500,000 for pump station alarms and informational relay systems.

• $283,000 for a sewer cleaner truck and $240,000 for a street sweeper.

• $165,000 for an ambulance.

• $155,000 for a sidewalk plow.

• $150,000 for a dump truck with plow.

• And $125,000 for four pick-up trucks and two plows.