The Fort Atkinson City Council was presented the future plans of 13 city departments at its annual Capital Improvement Program workshop Thursday evening.
There are some big projects coming down the pipeline and some equipment is getting much-needed replacements, with the Department of Public Works and utilities bearing the brunt of the big-ticket purchases, according to City Manager Matt Trebatoski.
“Public Works and utilities are the more capital expensive areas,” Trebatoski said.
In 2020, the Department of Public Works has budgeted for nearly $600,000 of regular street maintenance.
The city also is beginning to think about replacing the Robert Street Bridge, with $23,000 budgeted to start paying the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the design costs.
“The bridge is getting critical with the deck,” city engineer Andy Selle said. “There are some concerns. No one’s going to fall through, but there’s less and less good material to even patch holes. And the pedestrian situation has to be improved on the bridge.”
The Engineering Department also will be spending $60,000 to rewrite the land division code.
“It’s not exciting, but it’s important,” Trebatoski said.
The new code is part of a three-step process to build a uniform standard across the city’s developments. Currently, the city is in the midst of rewriting the zoning code.
The land division code outlines rules such as how wide streets and sidewalks are in certain parts of the city.
“We want to form a cohesive plan for bumpers of what occurs here in the city,” Selle said. “Basically, we’re setting the city standard in the code.”
Previously, Selle said, there were inconsistencies in the code when different city engineers had different preferences that caused confusion when development was occurring.
On the utilities side, the city is working to make computer systems and equipment as current as possible.
The sewer utility is spending $40,000 to add flow meters to the Sherman Avenue and Water Street lift stations, which will allow the department to monitor the levels of the Rock River.
The Water Department is continuing a project to replace and modernize the city’s water meters. The project will cost $90,000, with 400 new meters being replaced.
The main Water Department building will be getting a new roof after it was found to be filled with rain. The roof is budgeted for $45,000.
But the biggest ticket item for utilities is a $114,000 backhoe. The new piece of equipment will replace the 21-year-old backhoe the city currently owns that has logged more than 7,000 hours of work.
The city also will continue its plan to replace aging water mains.
Certain sections of the city’s water mains, which were installed in the 1950s and 1960s, were made with really poor material, Trebatoski said. This poor material causes about 20 water main breaks a year in certain areas, which causes a disruption in service for residents and can be costly.
The city has budgeted $780,000 for main replacement in 2020, but Trebatoski said while the cost of replacement is high, the city historically budgeted $100,000 a year for emergency repairs.
The Fire Department doesn’t have any major capital improvement plans in the works for 2020, mostly because the new fire station project already is on the books and taking up a lot of its time and money.
But in 2021, the fire and police departments likely will have to upgrade their radio equipment to comply with Jefferson County’s planned countywide upgrade.
Additionally, Fire Chief Daryl Rausch said that down the line, the Fire Department likely will need to construct a public safety training facility.
Rausch said that currently, the public safety departments must go to Madison for tactical training, which prevents the whole staff from being up to speed.
The training facility project is on the horizon for 2025 and has been budgeted for $250,000 — most of which will be funded by grants and donations.
“We’ve identified a site already owned by the city,” Rausch said. “We’re really waiting for the opportunity to apply for grants. But I’m already managing one large project; I don’t want to take on another one.”
The Police Department is spending relatively less than in recent years because of a delay in its squad car purchases this year. Police Chief Adrian Bump said he still hasn’t received the two squad cars ordered in 2019, so it doesn’t make sense to purchase more new vehicles when the 2019 models just got on the road.
Because of this, Bump delayed the purchase of new squad cars to 2021. Because of a grant, the cost of the department’s new vehicle radar units have been covered fully by the state.
These two money-savers allowed Bump to budget $34,500 for new squad car and body cameras. The new cameras are an upgrade from the current systems and will allow the department to be much more efficient with data and file storage, Bump said.