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September 17, 2021
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Sebastopol looks at Capital Improvement Program

By: Brandon McCapes
June 25, 2021

As annual budget deliberations continue, the City of Sebastopol is also working on a five-year plan for infrastructure and facilities projects throughout the city.

A Capital Improvement Program for the next five-year cycle beginning this coming budget year and ending in 2026 was the subject of a special city council meeting June 21. According to the staff report, the Capital Improvement Program is a “living document,” a forecast of future projects funded each year during each budget adoption process as new information presents itself.

The CIP includes 29 specific projects in categories such as parks projects, arts projects and sewage and water projects. The total Capital Improvement Plan budget for the five-year period is $19.5 million.

Included in the projects are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades for city facilities and city streets, such as the installation of curb ramps for wheelchairs on Bodega Ave., in addition to other safety projects to improve the cycling and pedestrian experience in town. 

The city received a Quickstrike Grant from the State for the Bodega Ave. improvements, which Engineering Consultant Toni Bertolero attributed to advocacy efforts of Vice Mayor Sarah Gurney and other council members at the state level.

However, the grant funding received was only half the cost of the projects, leaving a $1.2 million budget shortfall in this category. The installation of ADA ramps along State Route 116 alone will cost $735,370.

Other ADA-related projects include upgrades at city hall and the Youth Annex, which will cost $314,200. The city is currently pursuing Community Development Block Grants for these projects. The projects will serve as part of the city’s ADA transition plan, which will make the city more accessible to disabled and elderly residents who may be mobility impaired.

Parks projects include the installation of an exterior shower at Ives Pool, resurfacing the Brookhaven Tennis Courts and naturalizing the Calder Creek stream bed in Ives Park. The two most expensive parks projects are extending the AmeriCorp Trail in the Laguna and replacing and making ADA-compliant the Ives Park pathways, at $253,900 and $230,000 respectively.

Council members hope that some of the projects will be able to receive funding from the Biden Administration's proposed infrastructure bill.

The city council is expected to adopt its budget on June 29, just two days before the budget will go into effect for the budget year beginning July 1. The City of Sebastopol, like many municipalities reliant on funding from sales taxes, has faced revenue shortfalls this past year with the decreased economic activity related to the pandemic restrictions.

The proposed $11.14 million dollar budget includes a $1.25 million deficit due to the decrease in revenue. The City of Sebastopol has received about $1.4 million in federal relief funding and will have to draw from reserves to make up the difference.

Following the adoption of the budget later this month, the council will meet again on July 6 to approve the Capital Improvement Program. While the plan covers projects planned over five years, the budgets for individual projects must be approved on a yearly basis.