Council OKs Larger Public Works Budget
Hyattsville projected to increase spending on engineering and project management contractors over the next year.
Hyattsville's budget deliberations inched a bit further down the road last night. The City Council unanimously approved a $3.7 million budget for the Public Works Department, a $375,000, 11 percent increase over its current anticipated budget.
Much of that increase is the result of larger proposed expenditures for contracted services to oversee municipal public works projects. The city has budgeted $246,000 for contracted services in 2013, up from a mere $26,000 in the current budget year.
City Councilor Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5), asked why there was such a sharp increase in funding for contracted services this year.
Mayor Marc Tartaro said that the boost was designed to fund anticipated needs for engineering and project management work for upcoming and ongoing infrastructure improvements.
"As we have more projects, we anticipate a need for having to do that," said Tartaro, who highlighted embryonic plans to renovate the former BB&T building in Frazier's ward on 3505 Hamilton Street, as well as infrastructure improvements in University Hills, and the renovations to the Arcade Building.
Councilor Tim Hunt (Ward 3), raising a critique familiar to these proceedings, said that it was difficult to analyze the anticipated need for engineering work without a proposed capital improvement plan, which has yet to be released to City Council. City Treasurer and Acting City Administrator Elaine Stookey and Tartaro have said that the capital improvement plan will be released once the city's operating budget is approved. The reasoning, they have said, is because the numbers in the capital improvement plan are contingent upon the council's approval of the city's operating budget.
However, Tartaro apologized at last night's meeting and promised that during next year's budget cycle, the capital improvement plan would be made available earlier in the budget approval process.
"Next year, when we get the budget book, it will have all that information on hand to peruse," said Tartaro. "I apologize for that…the treasurer is still working on putting all that together."