NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — A presentation by Ed Cooney of the North Kingstown Asset Management Committee on the town’s Capital Improvement Program from Fiscal Year 2021 to Fiscal Year 2025 was the main focus of Monday night’s North Kingstown Town Council meeting at the Beechwood Senior Center.
Cooney reviewed the progress of the bond projects passed by the 2018 referendum, as well as the town’s current CIP status and where the AMC projected the CIP to go over the next five fiscal years. He presented the committee’s recommendations over that time frame.
In 2018, voters approved a $27 million bond referendum, which evenly split the bond between town projects and the North Kingstown School Department. According to the report, as of Dec. 31 the town has spent $985,748.99 on its bond projects, including work on the town’s fire stations, DPW buildings, Public Safety Building and the North Kingstown Free Library, in addition to paving. On the school side of things, $3.1 million of the $13.5 million has been spent, with the largest cost coming with the new field turf and renovations to the stadium and athletic complex at North Kingstown High School totaling $2.6 million, with resurfacing of the floors at Stony Lane, Fishing Cove and Forest Park Elementary Schools making up the remainder.
The AMC anticipates the town spending a total $12.1 million over the next two fiscal years on their projects, with $5 million going towards the Town Hall project and $3.5 million towards work on other town buildings, the majority of which for both projects will be spent during FY 2022. For the schools, a total of $10.5 million is planned to be spent through FY 2023, the majority of which will be spent in FY 2021 as the district finishes work on the athletic complex and installing an HV/AC system at the high school. Davisville Middle School will get its windows replaced.
Councilor Kerry McKay asked if the report on the schools accounted for the proposal put forward by the district at the Dec. 16 Town Council meeting. That proposal called for the consolidations of Davisville and Wickford Middle Schools into a new North Kingstown Middle School, to be built on the current WMS property. Cooney said the plan shown had been done before that presentation.
The CIP has four funding sources according to Cooney, with funds coming from authorized bonds, enterprise bonds, non-enterprise funds and the school department. The panel assigned rankings to projects based on how high priority they were, with the replacement of Well #10 ranking above all others, followed by road maintenance projects.
The AMC anticipates requests from the towns departments including Public Safety, DPW, Recreation, the NKSD and Water Department to total $15.3 for FY 2021, with the majority going towards the NKSD and DPW. That total decreases annually over the following fiscal years, with FY 2025 currently projected to have $1.8 million in departmental requests, but things could change over the next five years.
The potential for a new Public Safety complex, or repairs to the current one, in the years beyond the projection were predicted at costing around $30 million which would come from the general fund, while the Recreation Department is waiting on the approval of grants that will cover the majority of their projected costs over the next few fiscal years.
Cooney presented the recommendations of the AMC to the town next, with the replacement of Well #10 coming at a cost of $1,102,250 from the enterprise fund in addition to $350,000 and $300,000 from that fund for the Bow Hunter Tank and Water Main respectively. They recommend dedicating $5.45 million towards Road Maintenance, with $4.45 million coming from the general fund and $1 million from authorized bonds and $400,000 of the $850,000 for the Recreation Department’s playground to come from grants alone.
In total, the spending of each fund combined came to $7.8 million for general fund, $1 million in authorized bonds, $400,000 in grants and $1.7 million in enterprise funds according to Cooney, with the AMC also recommending the town create an Asset Protection Fund worth five percent of the annual budget. They also recommend clearly identifying projects funded in the FY 2021 budget, conducting an inventory of all facilities and vehicles for the towns and schools that could need repairs or replacement and placing a greater emphasis on the development of a five-year plan that will match the needs of the NKSD.
Town Council President Greg Mancini suggested the town look into creating a page on their website for residents to check on the town projects similar to the page on the Quonset Development Corporation’s website for the ongoing projects at the Quonset Business Park. Town Manager Ralph Mollis also expressed interest. McKay suggested the town look into adding signs listing the costs of projects and their expected time tables similar to the signs implemented by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation on state projects.
On other issues of the night, nearly all items on the consent agenda passed unanimously, while an issue pertaining to building height regulations in the town was voted 5-0 to go to a public hearing during the March 16 meeting and an amendment to the Development Standards for Certain Uses pertaining to farm breweries, wineries and distilleries was voted 5-0 to go to a second reading.
The council also approved the appointment of 12 people to various committee and commission positions and Mollis sought and received the approval to move the previously scheduled Town Council meeting for April 20, which the town had been looking to reschedule to April 27 before noting the room would be off use as the Rhode Island Presidential Primaries take place the next day, to April 22.
The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 24.