Mercer Island talks capital improvement

Each budget cycle presents an opportunity for the city to re-evaluate the six-year Mercer Island Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with a focus on new and unfunded projects in the upcoming 2011-2012 biennium.

Last month the City Council responded to a proposed list of 62 projects ranging from various park improvements to a redesign of the city’s Web site.

The Council unanimously chose to defer the replacement of Fire Station 92 until the next biennium, 2013-1014. Although not everyone was fully on board with the decision.

“I don’t like doing that,” Mike Cero said, “but the budget situations are such.”

Although the fire station was the only item removed from the list at the meeting, the Council requested more research into the Fuel System, which “is at the end of its life and needs to be updated,” according to the CIP preview report.

Council member Grady suggested city staff explore biodiesel as a fleet option and compare the cost to diesel.

The city’s vehicle fleet currently uses a variety of vehicles including diesel, gas, hybrid and electric, said Deputy City Manager James Mason.

The 60 remaining projects got a tentative “go-ahead” from the Council.

A sampling of projects slated for 2011 only:

• $176,000 to renovate the children’s wading pool at Clarke Beach and replace playground equipment at Groveland Beach Park.

• $102,000 on a chip seal pilot project to test the effectiveness of chip seal in extending the life of South-end streets.

A sampling of projects slated for 2012 only:

• $68,000 to replace playground equipment and upgrade Homestead park to make the facility consistent with the Homestead master plan.

• $383,000 to replace 25-year-old field lights at Island Crest Park. The new lights will require less energy and reduce the impact on park neighbors through decreased light “spillage.” The city may be eligible for a grant from Puget Sound Energy for this project.

• $120,000 to repair existing pedestrian and bike facilities on Island Crest Way from 86th Avenue to 53rd Place.

• $15,000 to redesign the city Web site.

Some items that will be funded in both 2011 and 2012 and remained unchanged on the draft list include:

• $1.1 million over two years to support residential street overlays on Upper Mercerdale and Parkwood.

• $1.145 million for the first phase of Island Crest Way resurfacing from 86th Avenue to 53rd Place, last resurfaced in 1990.

• $1.526 million in pre-scheduled fleet vehicle replacement including police patrol cars, marine patrol boats and engines, heavy equipment and administrative staff vehicles.

• $220,000 for Community Center building repair and maintenance including gym and dance floor refinishing and replacement of single-pane windows for energy conservation.

• $649,000 for open space vegetation management such as the removal of invasive and non-native plants.

• $223,000 for Luther Burbank Park improvements including ongoing repairs to the roads, sport courts, shoreline, lawns, restrooms, trails, parking lots and off-leash area.

• $115,000 to bring I-90 Park playground equipment up to code and replace boat launch decking.

• $140,000 to repair distressed and failing segments of arterial streets through square cut patching and crack sealing.

• $70,000 to replace worn and missing crosswalks, stop bars, arrows and other street markings.

• $149,000 on continued efforts to clean up a 2005 fuel spill from the city maintenance shop that spread to the Honeywell Property, expected to be complete by the end of 2012.

• $71,000 for firefighting equipment and upgrades of pre-fire plans to meet current standards.

• $238,000 to replace outdated desktop computers.

•$131,000 in repairs to City Hall including interior paint, exterior lighting, and roof repairs among other repairs.

• $89,000 for North-end fire station repairs such as interior painting and roof maintenance.

• $37,000 for South-end fire station repairs such as roof repairs

• $101,000 for Luther Burbank Park administration building repairs such as window sealing and roof replacement.

Capital improvement projects are primarily funded through real estate excise tax, motor vehicle fuel tax, utility rates, voted property tax levies, other taxes and grants.

The Council will receive the 2011-2012 budget document on October 4, hold a budget review meeting on CIP on November 15 and adopt the 2011-2012 budget on December 6.

For the full list of projects in Mercer Island’s 2011-2016 Capital Improvement Program list, visit

What capital improvements do you think the City should focus on?online survey

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