The paving of a dusty section of 120th Avenue South between Lake Worth Road and 50th Street South is one of several items on Wellington’s capital improvements wish list set to come up during budget discussions over the next month.
“There is at least some interest on the council,” Village Manager Paul Schofield told the Town-Crier this week. “We’ve had it in the capital plan for a couple of years. We’ve done some preliminary work on it. It is not currently funded, but it is certainly one of the things we will talk about in the budget.”
Schofield noted that residents of the Isles of Wellington community east of 120th Avenue have long complained about dust from the unpaved road.
“We’ve got some issues in terms of having enough room to actually build a road and then put in a bridle trail, because these are rather heavily used horse trails and there are some right-of-way limitations,” he said. “The power poles on the west side of the road are right up against the right of way. Without reconstructing the canal, we wouldn’t have room to do that. That’s one of the major ways of getting water from the south end of the village north.”
Other issues the council will have to consider about the road is a steep drop-off to the canal and no guardrail.
Although the paving of 120th Avenue is not assigned a specific capital budget year yet, an engineering study has been done. “It’s something we know we want to do,” Schofield said. “It’s just when it’s going to get funded. With the pressure that we’re getting, it’s something that we’d like to get done sooner than later.”
The topic is likely to be discussed at a capital projects workshop at the end of August and at public hearings in September.
“All of it comes down to a matter of funding,” Schofield explained. “We typically tend to do about $10 million worth of projects a year.”
Other capital topics for discussion include putting a traffic light at Pierson Road and Stribling Way.
“That’s a difficult intersection, and at rush hours, it needs better control. A traffic light there is around $360,000 to $370,000,” he said. “It’s certainly one of the things we’re talking about. Funding for that — whether it’s this year, next year or a couple of years down the road — is an issue.”
There is also likely to be discussion on roundabout construction, he said, pointing out that a roundabout could help the difficult intersection at Ousley Farms Road and Greenbriar Blvd.
“There is a lot of traffic there, and because of the angles of the road, there’s some odd geometry that a traffic circle might help,” Schofield said.
Additional stormwater storage is another topic that probably will come up. “Again, it’s just a matter of funding,” he said.
Other issues include whether to continue the village’s crack sealing program for roads, which some council members think is ugly, as opposed to more expensive repaving. Either is effective in sealing the roads from deterioration, but repaving would cost about $600,000 more, Schofield said.
The topic of building bus shelters is also likely to come up. The shelters cost $15,000 to $20,000 each, and discussion will center on how many and where to put them.
“Another issue we will be dealing with is street lighting,” Schofield said. “Street lighting sounds like a simple and innocuous thing, but every single street light costs between $200 and $240 a year in electric payments, so it doesn’t take all that many of them to make it a really big number.”
There was a year recently that the village paid $38,000 for street lighting on Forest Hill Blvd. alone, he noted.
Schofield said that the drainage capital program recommended by the village’s engineering staff to improve flood control will be curtailed because of the lower Acme Improvement District assessment increase approved by the Wellington Village Council.
There is $225,000 in next year’s capital budget for drainage system pump replacement, as well as about $1 million for basic maintenance of the water and sewer plants, Schofield said. There is a 40-year-old generator at the village’s water treatment plant that is not slated to be replaced next year, but when it is, it will cost about $800,000.
Anything in the coming or following year’s capital budget is usually completed, but items farther out are more likely to be moved around, Schofield explained.
He also pointed out that the state has taken away municipalities’ ability to require franchises for cable companies, and when the village’s contract with Comcast expires in 2016, Wellington will lose those franchise fees, along with its ability to provide Channel 18 for free.
“There’s a couple hundred thousand dollars per year in just picking that up,” Schofield said. “I don’t think at this point anyone will want to do without that. People want to watch the channel, so we’re going to have to cover that somehow.”
At least some of the contract money is supposed to come back to the municipality as revenue sharing, but the state will control how that revenue is allocated, Schofield explained.