Woodstock’s Town Council continued discussions on the town’s five-year capital improvement plan at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, during which Town Manager Aaron Grisdale and Director of Finance Amy Dill walked council members through a document that includes $16.2 million worth of projects through fiscal year 2026.
The proposed plan received a thumbs-up from the town’s Planning Commission last month and will go before the Town Council for adoption next month. It includes $4.89 million in projects in fiscal year 2022, which includes the cassette membrane filter replacement and supervisory control and data acquisition system upgrade at the wastewater treatment plant ($2.2 million), water meter upgrades throughout town ($1.3 million) and Phase I, Task I of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan ($500,000).
The plan includes $1.40 million in projects in fiscal year 2023, $1.03 million in 2024, $4.78 million in 2025 and $4.08 million in 2026. Of the total $16.2 million in proposed projects, $5,788,647 would come from the town’s general fund while $10,420,362 would come from the public utilities fund.
Dill also provided council members with some insight on the town’s debt during Monday’s meeting and detailed the proposed changes to Woodstock’s annual debt payments as they relate to capital improvement plan projects.
In the general fund, proposed annual increases to debt service payments include $61,117 in fiscal year 2022, $32,596 in 2023, $33,222 in 2024, $71,549 in 2025 and $106,602 in 2026. That would put the town’s total existing and proposed capital improvement plan debt service payments from the general fund at $237,888 in fiscal year 2022, and that figure would increase to $449,527 by 2026.
A proposed increase in Woodstock’s total debt in the general fund of $1,011,011 would bring that total to $2,747,042 in fiscal year 2022, and that figure would remain fairly level until rising to $4,082,226 in total proposed and existing debt with a proposed increase of $1,644,515 in 2026.
In the public utilities fund, the town’s existing and proposed total debt would increase by $4,540,307 to $22,730,601 in fiscal year 2022. That figure would dip to $19,583,048 in fiscal year 2024, with no proposed annual changes in debt service payments in either fiscal year 2023 or 2024, before rising back up to $22,356,134 by fiscal year 2026.
“We’re not proposing nearly as much as far as financing for our public utilities fund options,” Dill told council members on Monday. “We are basically going to be able to move forward with a considerable bit of pay-as-you-go funding for those projects, so that’s a promising thing.”
Dill also noted that Woodstock remains well above its target threshold for its fund balance, which the town is committed to maintaining at a value equal to at least 20% of general fund expenditures. At the end of fiscal year 2020 last June, Woodstock had an unassigned fund balance equal to 49% of expenditures, and a projected unassigned fund balance of $3,001,999 at the end of fiscal year 2021 this summer would equal 44%.
Grisdale opened Monday’s Finance Committee meeting by presenting Town Council members with a “budget-in-brief” document to serve as a reference as the council prepares to adopt the $15.79 million budget for fiscal year 2022 next month.
The “budget-in-brief” provides a graphical demonstration for how the town’s tax dollars are used to fund services to residents and businesses. According to the document, for every dollar collected, 28.4 cents go toward public safety and 25.6 cents go toward public works, while the remaining 46 cents go toward general administration (12.5 cents), capital projects (11.3 cents), fire and rescue contributions (7.4 cents), planning and community development (6.3 cents), parks and recreation (4.5 cents), debt service (3.3 cents) and transfers, reserves and fees (0.7 cents).