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Bozeman Commission to discuss capital improvement plan

Published On: Dec 18 2013 06:33:05 PM MST   Updated On: Dec 18 2013 07:01:35 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Thursday, city commissioners will hear a work plan of goals called the Capital Improvement Plan. It's an important planning document that lets the commission and the public see what staff believes will be the city's capital needs in the future.

Some of the projects on that list include a landfill gas remediation system, a family aquatics center, upgrades to Lindley Center and an addition to City Hall.

"It's not a budget, it doesn't authorize expenditure. It doesn't even approve the project but now, come January, when start building budget process internally they'll be the first things that roll into budget," explains Bozeman City Manager Chris Kukulski.

Some capital expenses tend to run in the millions of dollars. Even when they're hundreds of thousands of dollars, it's enough that the city needs to be planning three, four or five years out.

The plan is updated every year and forces the officials to be thinking of what the city's capital expenses might be between 2015 and 2020.

One of the city's top priorities on that plan is a landfill gas remediation system. The city alerted residents living near parts of the Bridger Creek subdivision to toxic gases coming from the old city landfill. Now, the city has to pay for a system to cut off those gases at the source. It's going to cost around $1.7 million.

"That's a legacy issue for the community. We used that landfill for the better part of four decades and we owe it to the rest of the community that it not be contaminating other people's property," says Kukulski.

Design and construction of an indoor-outdoor family aquatics center is on the list for 2015. Kukulski tells us the Bogert Pool doesn't provide the type of amenities people are looking for, not to mention it's inefficient. That project would cost the city $12 million.

"Bring it up to today's standards and building something large enough that would met the demands that the community has is really what that project is about," Kukulski.

A full upgrade for Lindley Park is in the plan. The Lindley Center is used for recreation programs and is rented out for events. It needs upgraded restrooms, plus there are structural issues with the foundation and basement and the windows are inefficient.

"We had a whole series of little $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 projects that were scheduled over the 5-year period and we've essentially said, 'let's combine them,'" Kukulski says.

It's expected to run about $190,000.

This is the first time a City Hall addition will be thoroughly discussed. It would involve selling the Stiff Building, which houses community development, public works and the city planning department, just to name a few. Those departments would then be added to City Hall, making it easier for customers and staff.

"If we could co-locate those here at City Hall, I think it would help improve our productivity and accountability and then help the customer as to where they come to get all their city services," says Kukulski.

It wouldn't happen in the next 5 years but it might happen in the next 10. Preliminary costs for that plan put the project at $5.5 million.

Other capital improvement plan projects include a new police station and municipal court facility and new patrol cars. Several have to be replaced each year. That can amount to around $200,000.