http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2013/06/26/storm-drains-bridges-are-key-features-of-woodside-budget


Almanac

News - June 26, 2013

Storm drains, bridges are key features of Woodside budget

by Dave Boyce

Public works is a major focus in a proposed budget for the town of Woodside over the next two fiscal years, starting July 1.

Under the plan, proposed by Town Manager Kevin Bryant, the town would begin long-term projects to recondition and make safe the town's storm drains and three of its bridges. The crosswalk at the elementary school would be upgraded, the Town Hall would be repainted and some new windows installed, and the staff would receive a pay raise.

The Town Council discussed the two-year budget in detail on June 11. At its meeting on Tuesday, June 25, the council will either approve it or send it back for more work. That meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

(Check AlmanacNews.com for updates. The paper went to press before the June 25 meeting.)

With revenues over the coming 12 months projected at $5.84 million and expenses at $5.57 million, the budget would show a surplus of $271,146. A surplus of $177,341 is expected in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

After spending more than $3 million on road rehabilitation since 2008, the storm-drain system needs attention, Mr. Bryant said. "Now the real threat to (the surface roads) is the sub-surface infrastructure," he said. "If they fail, then we're losing some of the money we spent." The budget allocates $50,000 over the next year to map a repair and replacement strategy, and $100,000 to start rehabilitation the following year.

Meanwhile, three bridges that span three creeks — on Kings Mountain, Portola and Mountain Home roads — are seen as threats to fail. The California Department of Transportation in 2009 designated the bridges across Union Creek, Alimbique Creek and Bear Gulch Creek as "structurally deficient" and "functionally obsolete." Untouched, it may be 20 years before Caltrans would forbid heavy traffic, possibly even fire and garbage trucks, a professional engineer told the council in November 2012.

To replace all three bridges would run $6.5 million, 90 percent of which the federal government would pay, but with a catch: federal standards would double bridge widths and undercut their charm and rural nature. There are options to extend the bridges' lives, but the council wanted a study. The budget allocates $20,000 for that and $100,000 for 2014-15 in anticipation of rehabilitation work.

Some $215,600 would upgrade the crosswalk at Woodside Elementary School, including new in-pavement lights, better drainage, and more effective road signs. Grants would pay for it all: $194,000 from the Highway Safety Improvement Program, and $21,600 from Measure A, a countywide half-cent sales tax.

Smaller staff

Town Hall staff is smaller. Gone since 2011-12 are the town's building official, building inspector, three project managers and a community preservation officer, according to the budget message. The proposed budget would retain one full-time deputy building official and one full-time project manager, but go to outside firms for the other services.

In July, all staff members would get a 3 percent raise, the first in five years, but with fewer staff members, spending on compensation will drop by about $350,000, Mr. Bryant said in an email. The town will save $185,000 even though contractual services costs will rise by about $165,000.

Another top priority: the Town Center Area Plan, an effort by staff and volunteers to ponder the future of the downtown commercial district. The budget allocates $100,000 for professional facilitators to engage the community and consultants to prepare designs and conduct studies.

The budget includes about $60,000 for Town Hall upkeep, including painting the building, repairing or replacing the deck, and repairing selected windows and window frames.

A structural analysis of the public library would assess whether longstanding plans to rehabilitate the building meet seismic-integrity standards.

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