Agenda Item: Use Sidewalk Reserves To Repay State

The Town needs to repay the State about $66,000 following its decision to end the Church Street Safe Routes to School sidewalk project. See Ouch. Town Needs To Repay State $65,847.74.   On the Selectboard agenda for Wednesday is a proposal to use the "Sidewalk Designated Fund for Partial State Payment re: Church Street." I assume* the agenda item relates to that obligation. 

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Do the Church Street costs fall within the scope of the Sidewalk Designated Fund? I don't know. 

Does the the Sidewalk Designated Fund have adequate cash?  Probably not, I assume*, based on my bog post of nine months ago, Sidewalk Repairs More Costly Than Anticipated:

Before voting to take over the Norwich Fire District sidewalks, the Selectboard’s working assumption was that a $4,000 increase in reserves to $14,000 per year would suffice. That is not sufficient in light of the condition of Town and NFD sidewalks, according to the memorandum dated November 21 from the DPW Director in the Selectboard packet for December 6. The document proposes “funding the Designated Fund-sidewalks at $14,000 for fiscal year 2018/2019 and then start funding it at $25,000 starting in 2019/2020.”

The memorandum indicates that over $39,000 in materials will be needed in 2018 to repair the “three Fire District sidewalks that are in the worst condition.” In addition, over $120,000 will be needed to repair Town sidewalks in fair to poor condition from 2019 to 2023.  

The $66,000 owed to the State is not in the budget for this fiscal year. Options to get the cash? Squeeze the money from the budget by limiting expenses elsewhere. The Town should have adequate cash on hand to allow the decision to float a few months. Or, use money in the Undesignated Fund Balance, as was done for building cost overruns last fiscal year.
* Why I "assume":  The Selectboard packet contains no supporting materials and I have been politely requested to not ask Town officials a lot of questions.
POSTED: 09.08.2018 


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