Solon is on more solid footing heading into developing a capital plan for 2022, officials said last week, with preliminary requests ranging anywhere between $4 million and $6 million.
That represents a slight increase in what is typically requested annually, which is $3 million to $4 million.
Before the City Council Finance Committee next month will be a completed list of capital requests, Mr. Rubino explained, presented prior to budget hearings in November and a final determination by City Council in December.
“We are better compared to last year,” Mr. Rubino said in terms of available resources to fund capital improvements.
The city suffered a $3 million loss in revenue for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We think we will have some additional capacity to allocate general fund resources for the capital plan for this year,” he said.
Dollars accumulated in the general fund for this year will be allocated toward the 2022 capital plan. As of July, the city has a general fund balance of $23 million.
In a typical year, the city moves about $1.5 million to $2 million from its general fund to a capital fund, but last year only moved $400,000 due to the revenue loss.
“For 2022, you will see a more average level of support from the general fund for the capital plan,” Mr. Rubino noted, which should be in the range of $2 million to $2.5 million.
Mr. Rubino said the capital plan represents a five year outlook, with the plan updated annually. City department heads submitted their list of requests last week, which is the first step in the process.
“It’s rolling every five years,” he said of the plan. The current plan runs from 2021-2025, with next year’s plan spanning 2022-2026.
At the meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 20, the Finance Committee will review the compilation of requests.
“We will not be making any decision on what is funded at that time,” Mr. Rubino said. “We just want to give them an all-in version of what is currently out there and what the capital needs for the city for the next five years are.”
The final capital plan will be reviewed by City Council in November and voted on in December.
For 2022, the city may look at allocating some of the second round of American Rescue Plan funding through the federal government toward capital projects. That will be something discussed by City Council, Mr. Rubino said.
“That is a potential source of funding for capital investments,” he said. “But we are just in the idea phase.”
The city received $1.193 million recently, representing its first installment of American Rescue Plan Act funding through the federal government and will receive the same amount next year, for a total of just under $2.4 million.
The funding is part of the overall plan, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, amounting to $1.9 trillion. A total of $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan is devoted to local government funding.
Mr. Rubino said typical capital projects involve such things as the replacement of vehicles and building improvements, among others.
This is separate from infrastructure work, which is part of the overall capital plan and amounts to about $17.5 million for this year.
Some capital projects were put on hold and carried over from last year, Mr. Rubino.
There has been ongoing discussion the past couple of years for what is termed Community Development projects, Mr. Rubino said. Examples of those include multi-use trails such as a Rails to Trails project, some portions of a Solon Connects plan that aims at walkability and mobility throughout the city as well as a possible amphitheater to be located in the Community Park.
“These are larger long-term projects that benefit the whole community, not just city government,” Mr. Rubino said. They will be in the mix of capital plan discussions moving forward, he said.
“There are not a lot of new requests for 2022,” he added. Some higher ticket items include about $500,000 to $750,000 in information technology upgrades.
Others involve standard or ongoing building improvements and upgrades, Mr. Rubino said.