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Special Committee Continues Review of County's Capital Plan

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Special Committee Continues Review of County's Capital Plan

Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Legislature's Capital Plan Review Committee today continued review of the County's 20 Year Capital Plan, adopted four years ago. As part of its work the special committee, led by Legislature Chair Martha Robertson, is charged with examining updated information on capital investment needs, as well as definition, prioritization, and timing of major recommended capital projects, providing input to the Commissioner of Planning and Public Works, the County Administrator, and the Legislature.

Much of the committee's discussion focused on two capital projects contained in the capital plan: jail construction (proposed for 2014) and a Center of Government building to house county government central offices (suggested for 2016).

Facilities Director Arel LeMaro presented the committee a summary of short, medium, and long-term needs for maintenance of the current Public Safety Building, which includes around $250,000 in deferred maintenance projects--'such as roof repairs, fire alarm system replacement, heating/ventilation system replacements, a generator upgrade, and parking lot resurfacing--'which need to be accomplished within the next five years. Some of that work is already underway.

After discussion, the committee reached informal consensus reaffirming that, for purposes of the capital plan, jail construction remain scheduled for 2014 as what County Administrator Joe Mareane described as a "milestone year" for comprehensive planning and evaluation of alternatives. Legislator Mike Lane was one who maintained the planning process should begin at least two years earlier. Sheriff Peter Meskill observed that among the key issues that the County will face will be whether to remain at the present Warren Road site and expand, or to build new and sell the existing facility.

The committee reviewed the Tompkins County Space Use Master Plan, approved in 2005, which in part recommends construction of a new Center of Government building on the site of the Old County Library. While there has been no decision yet to proceed with that approach, Planning and Public Works Commissioner Ed Marx advised that the committee may wish to revisit the future of the Old Library this year, including examining current uses--'records storage and the Community Justice Center--'to determine potential alternate locations for those functions should the County eventually sell or demolish the Old Library building.

The committee by mid-July is to recommend capital initiatives for the 2011 budget. Legislator Dooley Kiefer said a possible capital project for roads is one option she would like to discuss.