Posted at: 09/20/2012 5:33 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Austin Begins Work on $103 Million Dollar Plan
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- If it's important to plan ahead to make your household budget work, imagine how important it is when you're planning for an entire city.
And this week, the Austin city council started work on it's next long-term plan.
And if you’re going to dream, dream big.
“Fire trucks, police cars,” said Austin City Council member Steve King.
"It is kind of a wish list. If things goes the way we'd like to see them go, these are the things we'd like to do" added Mayor Tom Stiehm.
“The list is really just our five year planning. It's a capital improvement plan we call it," council member Steve King told us.
And the latest edition of the city's plan is a wish list valued at almost $103 million dollars.
"It's just a guideline, and if things go south or money is not there we just carry that over to the next year. It's just more for planning purposes," said King.
Not everything on the list is a big-ticket item like a fire truck -- there are tables and chairs for the library, pay lockers at the municipal pool and dozens of other items.
"Those are all capital expenses that if you don't plan for, all of a sudden if you get hit you have to buy five at one time, police cars, or you need to buy two trucks at one time," council member King explained.
“A lot of cities will have to borrow or bond to buy the new truck, we pay for ours, then we start putting money away for future trucks," added Mayor Tom Stiehm.
And with dollars in short supply, cities need to think outside the box when it comes to funding.
"There's a lot of things that account for that. Local government aid, the Hormel Foundation helps us out," said Stiehm.
“I think a lot of department heads in the city are gifted and doing grant writing" added council member Steve King. “Also this local option sales tax, there's a lot of different funding sources other than just the taxpayer."
"It's to take away the surprises. We're not sitting there, oh, we should have planned for this. we are planning for it," said Mayor Stiehm.
The council is expected to give final approval to the latest edition of its five year plan in mid-December.