An expanded or new Carroll Public Library is among the big-ticket projects that city leaders will consider this year as they plan how to spend potentially millions of dollars on public improvements in the next several years.
An expanded or new Carroll Public Library is among the big-ticket projects that city leaders will consider this year as they plan how to spend potentially millions of dollars on public improvements in the next several years.
March 4, 2013



When the Carroll City Council considers the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget next Monday night, the panel also is expected to approve a capital-improvement plan that stakes out priorities for coming years - including some large projects of long-running interest.

During recent budget work sessions, the council slotted $3.5 million in funding for construction of a new library - or an addition to the current facility - for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014. Since the city is projecting to use general-obligation bonds to fund that portion of a developing project, Mayor Adam Schweers has estimated to cost a total of $5.8 million, voters would have to approve a $3.5 million bond issue. The vote could come as soon as this year.

Schweers could roll out a plan for improvements to library services in coming weeks, but the topic remains among the more controversial at city hall in decades.

One capital plan that appears to have broad-based support in the chambers and the city is an improvement project for the historic Merchants Park baseball stadium. The council added $500,000 to Merchant Park improvements for fiscal year 2015, with $250,000 expected to come through hotel-motel taxes, and $250,000 from private fundraising. No referendum is expected on that project. Council members and city staff already have reviewed plans for the improvements.

This coming fiscal year, the council expects to fund a $25,000 study of a potential trails system in Carroll with $600,000 slated for funding of the construction of trails - with the locations to be determined - in fiscal year 2016. The council expects to use a combination of grants, $360,000, and $240,000 in local-option sales taxes to finance the project.

The council last week reviewed initial studies for the placement of a lazy river and a tube slide at the Carroll Family Aquatic Center. Expected cost is $1.25 million.

In the coming fiscal year, the city expects to spend $7,500 on a train-horn noise mitigation study, a priority for Schweers. The Rec Center gymnasium floor and ceiling are projected to see $152,500 in improvements this next fiscal year.

From fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2018 the city is eyeing $8.3 million in wastewater-system improvements, $3.1 million in water-system upgrades and $10.6 million in street work.

Two items that were listed in an initial long-term capital-planning document, but do not appear poised to make the cut for the capital improvement program going into effect next Monday are a dog park ($60,000) and a golf practice facility for the Carroll Municipal Golf Course ($100,000).

The council will hold a public hearing on the budget at 5:15 p.m. Monday, March 11, at the Farner Government Building. The capital improvement program, as approved in the city's budget process, largely serves as a non-binding guide for future projects.