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Published: Saturday, 12/8/2012

51 miles of road repaving, new fire station part of Toledo capital budget

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's proposed capital improvements budget released on Friday sets aside funding for paving 51 miles of road lanes along with money to build a fire station and renovate another.

“We believe this is a pretty aggressive capital improvements budget,“ Mayor Bell said during a news conference to release the spending plan. “We are dealing with the issues the taxpayers asked us to deal with.”

“The budget places an emphasis on reconstruction and resurfacing of major streets and residential roads, but also looks toward modernization with improvement of the human resources recruiting system, ongoing improvement of the city’s document management system, construction of a new facility for the storage of road salt, and fire station rehabilitation and construction,” according to a statement from the city.

The total proposed capital improvements for next year total $32.3 million.

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Last month, Mr. Bell said the city would spend a record amount on streets: $21 million from the city's capital improvements program, which doesn't include money from state and federal matching grants.

An additional 10 lane miles are scheduled to be repaved in 2013 with money from previous years’ budgets.

The 2013 capital program was proposed several months earlier than previous years to save money on labor rates and construction costs, officials said.

“We have not raised taxes but we continue to provide the services our taxpayers expect and deserve including paving roads, improving public safety, and working to make government easier to access," Mr. Bell said.

More than $44 million, which includes state and federal matching grants, was proposed for roads. Major projects in the plan include Secor Road between Central Avenue and Monroe Street as well as part of Collingwood Boulevard in the Old West End. About 23 of the 61 lane miles are residential roads throughout Toledo’s neighborhoods and the downtown.

The Bell administration is also committing $1.7 million to renovate Fire Station 3, the city’s oldest fire house. The city in September shuttered the 85-year-old building at 701 Bush St. because of cracks in the floor of the fire engine bay and plans to repair the main station house and add additional space for fire apparatus.

The mayor has also agreed to allocate $2.7 million for a new fire station, which will become Fire Station 12 — the name of a former firehouse at Suder Avenue and Manhattan Boulevard that was closed in 1980. It is to be built on the site of basketball courts in Blair Park, at Adrian and Chase streets. The new station’s service area will span from north of Galena Street to south of Point Place.

Also included in the proposed budget is $680,000 in new police vehicles and $600,000 for a new salt dome. The previous facility was demolished in 2010 when parts of the facade and roof began to crumble.

Nearly $1.3 million was earmarked for modernization of an “e-recruiting system” for the human resources department; Accela Automation software for the city's inspection department to issue, track, and manage permits and licenses, and also an electronic time and attendance system for the the police department. The department currently uses paper records.

Spending across all of the city’s funds next year will total $609 million. The proposed general fund budget predicts $243.59 million in spending and an equal amount in revenues — up from $238.98 million in revenues and the $238.9 million in spending in the 2012 budget.

Councilman George Sarantou, chairman of council's finance committee, said he was pleased with the proposal, which still needs council approval.

“This is certainly a productive CIP because it addresses the needs of public safety with the fire stations and there is an emphasis on road repairs,” Mr. Sarantou said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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