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Council given $24M capital plan

By DAWN HANKINS ~ dhankins@t-g.com


Shelbyville City Council received updated five-year improvement wish lists from departments Thursday night. City manager Shanna Boyette admitted she was reluctant to surprise the Council with the $24 million bottom line.


A resolution to adopt the 2021-2025 capital improvement plan guide will come before Council during its regular session 6 p.m. Thursday night.


Also included in the guide are State Street Aid and Shelbyville Municipal Airport grant-related projects (which require a 5 percent local match). They brings the five-year budget cycle wish list to over $29 million.


The monthly study session, normally held the first Tuesday night in the city courtroom at the police department, was moved to Thursday because of the New Year's holiday. Council members Jean Pruitt and Henry Feldhaus were absent.


Council member Mark Clanton asked city manager Shanna Boyette about the purpose behind the $4.4 million line item request by Shelbyville Police Department through 2025.


"What's the plan? Are you building something [or] buying something?" asked Clanton.


Shelbyville Police Chief Jan Phillips said the department is researching a possible new facility. The current building -- which once served as City Hall and which is still home to council meetings -- is about 55 years old, the capital plan points out.


Boyette added, "We know the age of this building . . . growing pains we have in this building."


The city manager said the facility needed to be included in the document. She said a plan needs to be devised for improvements within the next five years for the police department.


"We really need to make it a goal to figure out exactly what our plan is going to be. That's why it's there. That's why you see the million mark over the next two years."


She said the police department is just exploring options right now, but praised Phillips and his command staff for arriving at an workable figure, based on their needs.


"I commend the police chief and his command staff for really trying to find a number that could work . . . you all could maybe absorb over the next couple of budget cycles without having to potentially do a note."


Council member Marilyn Ewing asked if the capital plan numbers for the police department were inflated. Boyette said they're an estimate.


Boyette said the way the numbers were divided within the next two budget year cycles was set as a provision in case a building plan comes together in the near future. She said pre-envisioning the dollar amounts could help Council avoid future sticker shock.


"It's a good plan and something that needs to be done," said Clanton.


Boyette then pointed out that new park property is also included in the updated guide. She advised Council that the $9 million included in capital improvements is again only for advisory purposes and in no way commits the council to actually spend the money.


Boyette explained that the capital plan guide, which also includes a few upgrades for city hall, is not a budget, but merely an advisory tool. She praised department directors, as well as city treasurer Kay Parker, for their hard work on the plan.


"This is to keep you all in the loop about what each department director respectively thinks is on the horizon over the next five years," she said.


The city manager said the update is a good way for her office to sit down with department directors and prioritize needs. She said her office and departments, such as the police and fire, have been able to mark off several capital items which are already completed or are about to be finished.


Shelbyville Fire Department Chief Matt Doak has requested within the next five years a total of $1.6 million in department improvements. A part of his request includes dollars for needed rescue equipment.


"This is a very significant document," said Boyette. "It identifies what we think capital requests are, specifically to the general fund for each department."

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