Bulk of Orange Park’s capital improvements dedicated to street projects

Council explores long-range spending from gas, tax, stormwater, water funds

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 6/26/19

ORANGE PARK – The town council learned last week the bulk of its Capital Improvement Plan during the next five years would be devoted to street projects.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell said the …

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Bulk of Orange Park’s capital improvements dedicated to street projects

Council explores long-range spending from gas, tax, stormwater, water funds

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The town council learned last week the bulk of its Capital Improvement Plan during the next five years would be devoted to street projects.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell said the long-range budget would be broken into four funds.

“There are four different funds that are here [in the CIP],” Campbell said. “The sales tax fund, the gas tax funds, the water and sewer fund and the stormwater fund. Each of them, the revenue is funded in different ways and can be spent in different ways.”

Campbell said 66% of the sales tax fund will be spent on streets – specifically on roadways and sidewalks. In the first year, 15% of the fund goes to the town’s stormwater fund. Parks will get 3%, police 7%, fire and emergency management services 1%, facilities, buildings and grounds 7% and 1% for equipment maintenance.

“The main story here is that [66%] of sales tax dollars are going toward street projects, which I think is consistent with the council’s priorities,” Campbell said.

Of the gas tax fund, 60% will go toward paving and reconstruction, with another 14% going into sidewalks, 3% into street signs, 19% into machinery and 4% into town vehicles.

“It’s important to note that the gas tax is transportation-related expenditures only,” Campbell said. “In summary, though, the bulk of the five-year plan is paving.”

Following Campbell’s explanations both funds roles in the CIP, Public Works Director Chuck Pavlos said the water and sewer and stormwater funds would be used on projects like new fire hydrants and water meter replacements.

Pavlos said $575,000 is designated for stormwater improvements each year with an additional $300,000 designated for dredging.

“Ninety-percent of [this fund] is basic maintenance and I’ve said all along that we’ve got to maintain the street program, the sewer program and now the stormwater program,” Council member Alan Watt said. “We’ve got to maintain that and keep that going. That’s what this does.”

When it came time for council requests, Mayor Connie Thomas said that after speaking to the Annie Lee Keyes community, a pocket of more than 60 citizens who have lived in the town for 50 years, she would like to see a basketball court built in the next five years.

“[The Annie Lee Keyes community] talked a lot about the fact that they lost a lot of their resources through the years that their kids would use to play,” Thomas said. “By fencing off Grove Park Elementary, they lost a field to throw a ball in and, as we know, we’ve had a lot of talent come from that area because they were able to go out there and do that so, I’d recommend that we have a basketball court built so they have something out there again.”

After discussion about the CIP, the council mulled over their long-term vision process, which they hope to see stretch 20 years into the town’s future with a focus on businesses and residential housing. They unanimously agreed to create a steering committee of business owners who are residents, as well as hiring professional consultants to guide the town into the future.

“I make a motion that the town move forward to solicit professional planning services to facilitate and create a visioning plan for the town,” Watt said.

The motion was passed with a 5-0 vote.

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