PRINCETON — The Princeton City Council continues to edge its way closer to developing a new budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins May 1.
At Monday’s special meeting in City Hall, the council heard from department heads about the capital projects they’d like accomplished in the new fiscal year and how much money is needed for those projects.
Princeton Zoning Officer Pete Nelson said work needs to be done at the Prouty Community Building, specifically the repair of the exterior steps and some interior painting. Another need at the Prouty Building would be to replace the drapes, which are about 30 years or 40 years old, he said.
Also, with the huge increase in ridership at the Amtrak railroad station on North Main Street, the station does not have sufficient restrooms and accessibility, which is also an issue, Nelson said. However, he would not want the city to make a financial investment in the upgrades, and then have Amtrak officials say the changes haven’t been performed to their specifications. The city and Amtrak need to work together on the project, he said.
Princeton Street Department
In his report, Superintendent of Streets Steve Wright said his top street upgrade projects for the new fiscal year include Fairgrounds Road, Prouty Drive, Innsbruck Drive and Park Avenue. He would also like to get a new truck with a spreader and plow to replace a 1991 truck. The new truck would cost about $107,000. Commissioner Bob Warren encouraged Wright to also look at used trucks as a potential cost-savings measure.
Superintendent of Electric Jason Bird reviewed two of the main capitol projects which he’d like to see accomplished in the new year. On the generation side of the operation, he wants to replace a single-walled fuel tank with a double-walled tank, which was reported earlier to cost about $250,000. On the distribution side, Bird said he wants to run a second electric service distribution line across Interstate 80 on the north edge of Princeton.
Bird also reported on problems his department is having with radio communication, since the city has switched to narrow-band frequencies as required by the Federal Communications Commission. His employees are having trouble communicating within just a few miles of each other, truck to truck, plant to truck. His people need to be able to communicate with each other. It is a safety concern, Bird said.
Mayor Keith Cain said he and city manager Jeff Clawson will meet soon with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger and will express the city’s concerns about the federal mandate to him, Cain said.
In his report, Superintendent of Water Mike Eggers said the new water treatment plant continues to be the big project for the department; the new plant is projected to be in operation by fall. Another project for the new year is the repainting of the interior ceiling of the new water tower; he’s hoping the manufacturer will handle that project and cost. If the city had to hire the repainting work done, it could cost about $150,000, Eggers said.
Wastewater Department Superintendent Tim Forristall gave an update on the city’s new cannibal system, which is supposed to take care of the city’s sludge waste problem, but is not doing the job. The cannibal system is doing nothing but costing money to operate, he said.
Clawson said the city attorney has sent a letter to the manufacturer and other involved parties requesting a meeting in February to discuss the problem with the Princeton system.
In summarizing the discussions of the meeting, Clawson said he has compiled a “capital project wish list” for review by the council and department heads. As the council works on the new budget, it will need to determine what funding is available and prioritize the items on the wish list.
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