City hears more than $6 million in capital outlay requests

MARQUETTE – City department heads have requested more than $6 million in capital outlay funds from Marquette’s budget for the coming year.

The requests, which came during a city commission work session Tuesday, include $5.3 million for construction and $837,511 for equipment purchases.

The largest capital outlay request is for a Hewitt Avenue reconstruction project, estimated to cost $1.34 million. In addition, $450,000 of the requested funds would go toward the paving of gravel streets in the city.

City Engineer Keith Whittington said the city will be looking to pave Furnace Street, Mite Street and Hogan’s Alley.

Many of the construction requests – including the Hewitt work – could be supported by grant funds, according to city staff. Other grants being sought are for improvements to South Beach and for the construction of restrooms at three city parks.

If all of the city’s construction grant applications are approved, Marquette would receive $830,000 in grant funding.

Department heads also made a number of requests for equipment, including $532,000 from the motor pool, which would purchase a refurbished leaf collection truck ($138,000), two police patrol vehicles ($75,000) and refurbished winter maintenance equipment ($182,000).

A large portion of the capital outlay requests will likely be funded through bonding. In recent budget cycles, the city commission has opted to remain debt neutral, bonding only as much as the municipality pays back in a given year. That total is about $4 million.

Gary Simpson, the city’s chief financial officer, said the city should be able to stick to that plan again this year.

“It’s just anticipated at the present time, because we don’t have the full budget done,” Simpson said.

In recent years, the city’s budget has hovered around $55 million.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.