STRASBURG – The Town Council plans to request several budget amendments at its 7 p.m. meeting today.
The first is an amendment request of $1,085,644, which the Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to reimburse to the town following work completed on the second phase of the downtown Streetscape Project, from Holliday to Massanutten streets.
The council already approved a budget amendment for the project, but that only included the town’s share of $290,000, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson explained at a work session last week.
He said the discrepancy in expenditure planning was an oversight, but that VDOT will reimburse the town the $1,085,644 once the work is complete and the town submits paperwork.
“As long as all your documentation is there, it’s pretty quick,” Pearson said of the reimbursement timeline.
The total project cost is $1,357,055. The town’s share is $271,411.
The council also plans to request $517,437 to cover VDOT’s share of the cost of the Gateway Trail Project (to be reimbursed to the town), $32,500 for the total expected cost of the Master Park Plan, and $35,000 to hire a company that will help with the town’s Wayfinding Signage project.
Master Park Plan funds were approved but went unspent in the 2019 Fiscal Year.
The Wayfinding Signage project still needs Town Council approval. The project has been stalled because it needs to be in compliance with a new VDOT manual. Pearson said the town’s request to get grandfathered into the previous VDOT guidelines – largely nonexistent – was denied.
Frazier Associates previously worked on the town’s historic district sign guidelines, Pearson said.
“They’ve been great to work with so far in understanding the scope and intent of what we need to do,” he said.
Council had previously earmarked about $300,000 for everything associated with the Wayfinding Signage project, as part of an unrelated project, Pearson said.
In spite of the multiple budget adjustment requests, Pearson said the town will still have plenty of money in its general fund while waiting on the VDOT reimbursements. The general fund balance is $3,141,110 million. After paying the total cost of its transportation projects (Streetscape phases II and III, Gateway Trail, Wayfinding and Master Park Plan), the town will still have $1,883,610 million.
The town’s fiscal policy passed in 2017 requires it to maintain $1 million, or 20% of its total general fund operating expenditures, whichever is greater, according to a memorandum Pearson wrote up for the council work session.
The $1,883,610 remaining in the general fund balance prior to the VDOT reimbursement exceeds the $1 million and the 20% minimum balance.
The Downtown Utility and Streetscape Project has completed demolition of the sidewalks in its first of four stages expected to take up to 180 days to complete, the town announced Friday. Stage 1 will also include installation of electrical and drainage utilities where the sidewalk was demolished.