By Ricky O'Bannon
STILLWATER, Okla. —
With next year’s budget already complete, Stillwater City Council is gearing up to look at the city’s long-term budget with a capital improvement plan.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, councilors created an ad hoc committee to start shaping a long-term capital plan.
“You’ve been hearing us talk for a while now about wanting to create a hardcore capital improvement plan, and to get that accomplished we’re going to get some work done outside of council meetings,” said Mayor John Bartley.
Vice Mayor Chuck Hopkins and Councilor Joe Weaver were appointed to that committee.
The idea of a capital improvement plan has been a reccurring topic during budget discussions. Last year, then-Mayor Nathan Bates said during a budget session that Stillwater has a history of saying “next year” when talking about the long-term infrastructure issues it’s facing.
More recently, City Manager Dan Galloway spelled out the cost of that infrastructure need while at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in April.
The two main areas of concern are roads and water. When the city allocates its budget each year, it has not been able to keep up with the annual infrastructure investment needed, meaning the problem and price have only continued to grow.
In April, Galloway said the city needs to invest between $8 million and $10 million in road repairs but invests an average of $300,000. That amount was increased to $650,000 in the budget councilors approved in May, but that number still falls well short.
Most of the city’s water infrastructure should be covered by recent increases in water rates, but a large amount of the projects needed to boost water pressure in the southwest section of town are not covered. The cost of fixing pressure in that region was recently estimated to be $30 million through 2040.