Saturday, February 23, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 51

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 3rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 18

Even with budget issues, Santa Maria capital projects receive funding

By Spencer Cole

Santa Maria may have issues keeping its budget balanced, especially with its general fund, but its capital projects are by-and-large well financed, according to city officials. 

"We're going to be spending more money on those projects," Mark van de Kamp, the city's public information officer, told the Sun.

In all, the proposed capital projects budget for 2018-20 consists of 109 ventures representing approximately $81.1 million in appropriations. There were 118 total projects requested by city departments, coming out to a total of a little more than $84.4 million. Nine of those (representing approximately $2.9 million), however, were not funded due to a lack of available financing.

The 2018-20 Budget allocates $39 million in projects for the first year and $42 million in the second. Comparatively, the 2016-18 iteration had 78 capital projects totaling $42.8 million.

The vast majority of proposed projects for 2018-20–about 97 percent–are financed from non-general fund sources and mainly pull from the city's enterprise fund. 

"That's funded by utility bills like water, sewer, trash, and then grants," van de Kamp said. "So most of those projects are going forward and moving along smoothly." 

It's a good thing, he added, because the capital projects general fund has $2.9 million in capital expenditures for 2018-20, or about $510,000 less than the previous budget passed for 2016-18.

The primary project is the development of the future Los Flores Integrated Management Facility. It's expected to cost more than $25 million over the next two years. This includes $8.1 million to create a new landfill, plus $14.25 million to build the first landfill cell and supporting facilities. The site is about 8 miles south of the city. 

Another $3.5 million will be invested in engineering the design and paying for construction services of a solid waste transfer station at the Santa Maria Regional Landfill. The existing landfill will be full in about five years, according to city staff documents.

"The plan is to open the new landfill within two years," Van de Kamp said, adding that it's estimated to last roughly a century.

Another major project will be general operational improvements, based on increased vehicle and truck traffic at the Betteravia/Highway 101, the Main Street/Highway 101, and the Broadway/Highway 101 interchanges.

The city is also working toward the establishment of a new park within the 113-acre Enos Ranch development off Betteravia, according to van de Kamp. 

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