Blanding City Council discusses process to plan for capital projects in the future

The Blanding City Council discussed their ten-year capital projects plans, the possibilities of another dam site, and a new appointment to the planning commission at their February 23 meeting.

Much of the city council discussion revolved around the capital project plan at the meeting. City staff presented planned projects for 2022 through 2031.

Plans include maintenance for streets, as well as sewer and water. Other items include plans for trails, a water fill station and lighting for the baseball fields.

During the discussion, city council and city staff agreed that planning for the projects could be done in a better way.

City staff is planning to create a formal document to look at long-range planning to address capital needs so the city can see how much future projects will cost and how to save for them for years to come.

For example, the 2021 planned improvements include a needed treatment plant of micro membrane filters for $220,000 and a reservoir site feasibility study for $10,000. Other projects include a shade structures at the ball fields for $75,000, and a pavilion at central park for $35,000

While the water treatment project and dam feasibility study have been completed, the other two projects stalled due to increased costs. The latest quotes for the items came in at $125,000 for the shade structures, and $55,000 for the park pavilion.

The City Council balked at the higher than anticipated costs, but did move the shade structure and pavilions to the next year’s budget, with hopes of finding much lower bids or other creative solutions.

Still, the Council expressed frustration with not knowing exactly how much has been set aside for these type of projects.

City staff agreed and shared plans to make more information available throughout the city budgeting process, as well as when the items come up for approval.

City Manager David Johnson said, “Let’s do these plans so that Council can actually say ‘Yep, we’re for sure doing this this year because we planned ahead to make this happen.’”

One of the 2021 projects that has happened is the dam feasibility study. The study by Jones and Demille Engineering looked at two possible dam sites that could increase the city water storage by 800 acre-feet.

The study recommends a site located near the confluence of Cherry Creek and Johnson Creek in the Abajo Mountains north of Blanding. The preliminary anticipated cost of building the dam is just shy of $3 million.

The study recommended next steps include to identify potential funding sources for the project and to prepare applications to secure those funds.

At the meeting, the council also approved the appointment of Shawn Begay to the planning commission. Begay was one of the recent applicants for the open city council seat filled in January.

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