This year will be heavy in capital project spending for the city of Fairfield, with the largest project happening at the end of Groh Lane.
The city is expected to spend $34.1 million this year on projects listed in its 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program plan, and $11 million is budgeted for water and wastewater projects. The lion’s share of that Public Utilities Department funding will be a $7 million project for improvements at the Groh Lane wastewater treatment plant.
This is the second year for heavy spending from the department led by Director Adam Sackenheim, as the city spent $17 million in 2022. But he said the budget would “normalize” in years two through five of the five-year CIP plan.
“I consider ‘23 and ‘22 anomalies in terms of our capital program because of our large projects, extremely large projects that we’ve funded, including our citywide metering system last year, Port Union water tower―the first new water tower in 30 years ― and then this year the $7 million wastewater treatment plant improvement,” he said.
In a normal year for public utilities, Fairfield will spend about $2.5 million for water projects and $2.1 million for wastewater projects, Sackenheim said, “but unfortunately, we had two heavy years back to back.”
“We got the opportunity to take care of all of these issues at once, so it’s a heavy load on year one (of the 2023-2027 CIP) because of that project,” Fairfield Finance Director Chris Hacker said.
City Manager Scott Timmer said the city is planning to address several dozen projects across the city and departments this year, which are outlined in the CIP, a planning document that’s “essential to the future financial health” of the city.
“Capital planning is critical water, sewer, transportation, and other essential public services,” he said. “It’s also an important component of the community’s economic development program and strategic plan. Capital facilities and infrastructures are important to serve current and future generations and it’s extremely difficult for governments to address current and long-term needs without a sound, multi-year plan.”
Projects in the CIP are needed to align with Fairfield’s goals outlined in the Fairfield Forward Comprehensive Plan, which this year’s plan does check various boxes, including land use and zoning, transportation, economic development, public services, and sustainability.
The five-year CIP plan is a $115.51 million plan, and none of the budgeted $34.1 million for 2023 would be obligated until the respective projects are ready, Hacker said.
“When we bring the appropriations before council at the meetings, that’s when we are really taking that next step and moving forward with a specific project,” he said.
Some of the capital projects slated for 2023 include the purchase of a new fire truck, the annual street paving program, several storm sewer projects, and the sustainability plan that was requested by City Council.
Last year, Vice Mayor Tim Meyers and Council member Gwen Brill co-authored a letter asking the city to consider sustainable options for things from reducing Fairfield’s overall carbon footprint to community engagement and education. It could take a year to 18 months to complete, and Development Services Director Greg Kathman said they’re currently accepting proposals for that project.
FAIRFIELD CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
This is a breakdown of what’s planned for each year in the 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program plan for the city of Fairfield:
2023: $34.1 million, with $13.58 million in critical projects
2024: $22.6 million, with $5.32 million in critical projects
2025: $17.8 million, with $3.3 million in critical projects
2026: $21.1 million, with $4.57 million in critical projects
2027: $19.85 million, with $5 million in critical projects
SOURCE: CITY OF FAIRFIELD
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