BARSTOW • Last week the City Council approved a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, the first multi-year improvement plan ever adopted by Barstow.

Most cities have a CIP, which serves as a guide for future budgeting. The CIP puts on paper what structural improvements and equipment expenses the city anticipates over the next five years. It also outlines how each project will be funded.

City Councilman Tim Silva said one of the benefits of having a CIP is that it helps the city maintain its assets by developing a replacement plan for vehicles, streets, etc. In the end, the city saves money.

"You can get more life out of streets through maintenance," Silva said. "It's about 10 times the cost to do reconstruction, whereas if we did maintenance we could get more life out of them."

Over the next five years, the city plans to spend nearly $40 million on these type of capital improvements — half spent in the first year.

Assistant to the City Manager Oliver Chi said the first-year items, which have already been budgeted and approved by the City Council, account for so much of the CIP spending because there are several big projects taken on during that year.

During the first year, the city plans to spend about $7.5 million on streets construction, including more than $1 million for construction surrounding the new Barstow Community Hospital. About $6 million will be paid for from Measure I funds, where voters approved increasing sales taxes to improve roads. The other $1.5 million will be paid for from the city's Hospital Fund.

Tim Saenz, city councilman on the streets committee, said the extensive street construction projects have brought the city's streets to a place where they can shift focus to maintaining the roads.

Saenz said street upkeep has been neglected in the past. With the help of the CIP, the city is playing "catch up" with road maintenance.

"We're really behind the ball, but this helps us so we can budget and know the cost of our roads," Saenz said.

Also in the first year the city plans to spend more than $4 million on updates to the wastewater treatment plant as well as sewer line repairs and replacement.
The city will also be spending $1.8 million to make city buildings and facilities more energy efficient.

Another big expense addressed in the CIP is the replacement of city vehicles. In the first year, the city plans to replace four police patrol vehicles, costing $600,000. Each following year the city plans to replace two more police vehicles. Another seven vehicles for the city will be replaced the first year as well.

Silva said the CIP helps set a vision for the city that future city councils can take direction from.

"If you don't give them a vision of what you were thinking, you just don't get much accomplished," Silva said. "They need to see what's been planned."

 

The CIP outlines $37.97 million of improvements distributed over five years:
• 2011-12:  $20.76 million
• 2012-13: $7.17 million
• 2013-14: $3.89 million
• 2014-15: $3.73 million
• 2015-16: $2.41 million