$800M planned

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The plan they were presented included nearly $800 million worth of spending on property, improvements and other construction during the next 10 years.

Still, however, Planning Commissioners on Tuesday had little to say about Suffolk’s proposed 10-year capital improvements plan during their first official look at the proposal.

After hearing a half-hour presentation on the capital plan for Suffolk Public Schools, the fire and police departments, transportation, parks and recreation, the airport, the municipal center, and village and neighborhood improvements, only a handful of commissioners raised questions.

Commissioners will have a month to make edits to the $794.9 million plan, which is a 10-year outlook on proposed projects. Only the first year of the approved plan would be incorporated into the city’s budget.

One of the most critical needs, Budget Officer Anne Seward said, is transportation funding.

“We have to really work on transportation here in our city and how we’re going to fund it,” Seward said.

During the next five years, about 12 percent of the five-year spending plan is dedicated to transportation. About $23 million is earmarked in the plan for roadway and intersection construction.

The proposal calls for about $33.5 million in spending in the first year. About half of that amount would be set aside for a replacement elementary school for Robertson and Southwestern.

About $4.5 million is set aside for fire department needs, including fire engines, an aerial platform truck, an ambulance, design for a new Nansemond Parkway fire station, and other needs.

In the parks and recreation department, about $2.3 million is planned for maintenance, John Yeates athletic field improvements and a joint recreation facility at the replacement elementary school for Robertson and Southwestern.

About $8.5 million is planned for spending on the airport, stabilizing the municipal building, and constructing an operations maintenance facility.

In the public utilities department, about $27.7 million in spending is planned for next year — much of it related to the water deal with Norfolk and Isle of Wight County. Suffolk and Isle of Wight will be purchasing up to 15 million gallons per day from Norfolk’s water sources beginning in 2014, but must make millions of dollars of upgrades in the interim. About $11.2 million is planned for water treatment plant upgrades. In addition, more than $9 million is planned for sewer system upgrades.

After commissioners make their edits to the plan, they will approve a version in January. The plan then will go before City Council in February.