Wide Range of Projects and Initiatives Set Aside in Cedar Falls Capital Improvement Program | New Policies

CEDAR FALLS — At Tuesday’s city council meeting, much time was spent talking about the $150,000 allocation for a future zoning update in the College Hill area.

This has been approved, along with millions of other projects that have received preliminary consent as part of the city’s financial planning for the next five fiscal years.

This year, the capital improvement program includes about 200 projects costing $350 million over the next five years, starting in fiscal year 2023, which begins July 1.

Every year around the same time, the forecast document for the next five years comes back with changes to submit to the city council. It is not set in stone that these one-time capital expenditures, primarily related to infrastructure and “quality of life”, materialize.

But for those that do come true, say a new park, the hours employees spend on regular maintenance counts toward the city’s operating budget and is not another capital improvement.

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In turn, annual revenues, such as property taxes, must be there to support the extra workload year after year.

Among the biggest items on this year’s list is a future expansion of the Hearst Center for the Arts estimated at $5 million.

Nearly half of the cost would be covered by private donations and grants, with some coming from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association, the Cedar Falls Community Foundation, and general obligations in fiscal years 2025 and 2026.

Another costly item could be the acquisition of land housing the future former school district administration building for a new fire hall to replace the old one at the corner of Main and 18th streets.

CIP has approximately $1.2 million available from general fund savings, as well as city emergency reserves in fiscal years 2024 and 2025 for land acquisition and demolition costs.

There are also line items that don’t necessarily make the headlines.

Just over $1 million is being spent each of the next five years on replacing vehicles and larger pieces of equipment. Additionally, the city gets a new financial system to replace its outdated system by allocating $3.4 million over the next five-year period.

There are items, cheaper in nature, that have a lot of value for niche groups of people.

In fiscal year 2023, $100,000 is allocated to investigate options for a downtown parking ramp. CIP proposes to dedicate $100,000 per year for the next five years to the city’s forgivable loan program for people interested in converting rental housing to owner-occupied housing. Gym-goers might be happy to see $300,000 spent on new weights at the Cedar Falls Recreation and Fitness Center.

Major projects, many of which are already underway, are also included, such as $2.3 million in fiscal year 2023 to pay for the City Hall renovation project.

College Hill Partnership residents and board members spoke of the time spent creating the vision and how they didn’t want to risk delaying adoption of the code update.

The more than $5 million Cedar River recreation project, which hit a snag last year when bids came back higher than expected, is marked almost fully budgeted for fiscal 2023.

The new high school swimming facility will cost approximately $16 million, including $8 million from the school district and identified funding sources for fiscal year 2025.

The entire CIP can be consulted: www.cedarfalls.com/1660/Fiscal-Year-2023.

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