What was arguably a watershed moment occurred at Hellertown Borough Council's June 18 meeting, with the unanimous approval of two capital budget plans that--it is hoped--will both revive and maintain infrastructure for years to come.
"The first plan is a capital projects long-term debt plan which totals up to 2 million dollars," councilman Tom Rieger explained.
Rieger served on the capital projects committee that helped draft the plans.
"The capital project long-term debt plan will consist of a 15- or 20-year, $2 million dollar loan, which will be used to pay for large ticket capital projects such as bridge repairs and replacement, the () grandstand," and the first phase of construction for , he said.
The long-term debt plan will also be used to finance repairs to Borough Hall and to refinance about $500,000 in outstanding loans, Rieger noted.
The other plan approved by council is a 7-year capital fund plan that requires an annual contribution from the general fund of $130,000 each budget year.
As Borough Manager Cathy Kichline explained, regular contributions to the 7-year capital fund plan will ensure that money exists for anticipated, periodic replacement costs, such as a pool liner that needs to be replaced every 10 to 13 years.
"This plan does stay solvent," Rieger emphasized to council.
Kichline said the plan was "the result of committee meetings--meetings with the department heads, who actually determine the needs."
Members of the committee spent about six months working on the details and scrutinizing numbers in order to create the final draft presented to council.
And council members said they were impressed with the final result.
"I'm impressed by the plan," councilwoman Gail Nolf said. "My overall view is that this is a reestablishment of infrastructure."
Councilman Joseph Pampanin said he, too, supported the plans and the projects that will be funded.
"This is what helps define the borough," he said. "We make sure we take care of what we have."
Council president Phil Weber noted that adoption of the plan would not preclude groups like the Hellertown Enhancement Project----from continuing to seek grants for the stage.
Rieger noted that the 7-year plan will be updated annually to reflect any grants that will be used to help fund projects supported by regular funding.
Other projects that will be funded via the plans include: restrooms at ($50,000); a new basketball court to be built in a park location still to be determined (approximately $138,000); and a renovation/restoration of the bathhouse ($100,000).
The most expensive bridge project will be the replacement of the aged, metal grate Harris Street Bridge, at an estimated cost of approximately $368,000.