Saline Approves $163 Million Capital Improvement Plan


Saline City Council approved a $163 million capital improvement plan at Monday’s meeting. That plan includes the $80-million wastewater treatment plant project already funded and underway.

The capital improvement plan is a roadmap for the maintenance and development of city infrastructure and facilities. The plan outlines projects for fiscal years 2025-2030. The current fiscal year is 2024 and concludes at the end of June.

“This plan includes things we keep talking about - water, sewer, water infiltration - the items I know our community is really concerned about,” said Councillor Dean Girbach. “While this document has a lot of stuff in it, there are specifics we are committed to and those our our priorities."

The plan also includes proposals that have yet to be vigorously debated, such as spending up to $20 million for Saline Rec Center improvements. Another project would spend up to $6 million on Mill Pond - potentially removing the dam - and $3.5 million on a full renovation of Mill Pond Park.

City Manager Colleen O’Toole and several council members emphasized the plan puts nothing in stone.

“This does not give staff carte blanche to go ahead and just do these programs and incur these costs,” O’Toole said. “All of these projects come back to council for approval, both for the design and engineering and bid results. There is a lot more public process that will go into it. This is just our vision.”

In her memo to council, Treasurer Elle Cole noted that the city will need to find revenue to pay for these projects. Millages and bonds could help fund some projects. Utility rate hikes would likely fund big-ticket items like a new water tower. The city has pushed for grant funding harder over the last two years.

In some cases, council has not yet decided if it will support funding Rec Center improvements. However, having the project in the capital improvement plan can help the city get grants if the council chooses to go forward.

“There are items (in the plan), like the Rec Center, that are wishes, if the funding comes through. The idea, of course, is this document will help us (with funding),” Girbach said, adding that capital outlay for the Rec Center continues to be an issue for him unless the Rec Center can improve its operational finances.

Here are some of the highlights of the plan:

  • Nearly $80 million on rehabbing the wastewater treatment plant with the majority of that spending over the next two years.
  • $20 million on renovating the Saline Rec Center. $8 million for phase one in FY 25-26, $4 million for phase two in FY 27-28, and $2-8 million for phase three in FY 29-30.
  • $9 million on water production, including $6 million for a new water tower in FY 27 and $2 million for well number 8.
  • $7.2 million in sanitary sewer rehab work over the next seven years.
  • $6.2 million on water main lining, including $1.2 million on North Harris Street.
  • $6 million for “dam feasibility projects” in FY 29-30, which could be removal of the dam.
  • $2 million for the Saline River Valley Trail in FY 28-29.
  • $1.4 million to replace the Woodland Culvert in FY 25.
  • $3,5 million on a full renovation of Mill Pond Park in FY 30.
  • $600,000 roof replacement at Saline City Hall in FY 25-26.
  • $539,000 for a retaining wall along Monroe Street at Oakwood Cemetery in FY 26.
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