Farmington study estimates $10 million in building maintenance

Body: 

The Farmington City Council and staff are exploring how to fund long-term deferred maintenance on city-owned buildings that total nearly $10 million.

A 2017 Facility Analysis Report summarizing a building study was presented to the council recently by John McNamara of Wold Architects. The study identifies short- and long-term deferred maintenance needs of the interior and exterior of city buildings. The purpose of the study was to ballpark future estimated costs associated with addressing the maintenance issues.

"You just need to keep them on the front burner to remind you of the work ahead and some of the funding challenges we noted," said Robin Hanson, city finance director. "Those challenges include the $10 million investment during next 10 years for building maintenance."

City staff is utilizing the building study results to prioritize the completion of items with limited funds. A long-term funding discussion to address ongoing needs will continue.

Pool closure

Since pool revenues continue to decline and expenditures continue to increase, the preliminary 2018 budget calls for the city pool to close and not re-open next summer. City staff said the city pool has fewer amenities than other pools in the area and that makes it more difficult to compete. The building study identified extensive pool repairs that need to be made to the pool facility and this led the city staff to recommend closing it.

Long-term funding

During 2016 city staff continued to review and revise various capital improvement plans (CIP). The city council will continue to review how to cover long-term funding for streets, trails and parks, as well as compensated absences and emerald ash borer, Hanson said.

The city of Farmington has a plan on how to cover the ongoing funding for seal coating for city streets and a trail maintenance plan.

"But addressing the long-term, maintenance management and strategies for our many, many miles of streets and mill overlay implementation program and providing for city replacement trail program or other strategies" will be a challenge in years to come, Hanson said.

Staff will continue to work with the council to address the funding for the long-term capital issues. Planning is underway for the design, build and purchase of the city's next new fire engine in 2019. The next large-scale road project will get underway in 2019.

City staff are working to update the city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan this year. Additional information about strategies and goals can be found on the city's website at www.ci.farmington.mn.us.

Council feedback

Council members shared feedback about the budget process and set the 2017 preliminary levy at their Sept. 5 council meeting.

"We have gone over this many times and in many workshops and it has been a lot of hard decisions and it is not an easy decision to keep funding — the city provides the services and we try to strike a balance between taxes and services," said council member Terry Donnelly. "This is what we have decided is the proper balance and probably not everyone will agree."

Council member Katie Bernhjelm added some context to the budget proposal discussion and complimented Hanson on the proposed budget summary and 2018 tax levy presentation.

"I think you did a really good job explaining that because it is very complex and all the decisions that go into it, and I think it is important for folks to know there are a lot of hard decisions that go into this budget every year, especially since we do have a debt levy right now and we are trying to get out of it and we are trying to balance all the needs of the city across a lot of areas."

Bernhjelm encourages Farmington residents to take a holistic view when considering all of the city's budgeted items.

"There are a lot of needs that are not getting met, also, that we have to put off for a few more years," Mayor Todd Larson said.


Future maintenance projects:

  • City Hall building: $920,150
  • City pool: $1,150,900
  • Farmington Fire Station #1: $968,750
  • Farmington Fire Station #2: $163,500
  • Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena: $2,386,000
  • First Street Garage: $82,600
  • City Maintenance facility: $2,566,900
  • Farmington Police Station: $980,300
  • Rambling River Center: $759,525
  • Total deferred maintenance: $9,978,625