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Special fund for capital improvements



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July 03, 2013 - A savings account "that can't be touched."

As of Jan. 24, that's what the City of the Village of Clarkston has. At their meeting, council put $9,000 into the Capital Improvement Fund for special projects.

"The whole point is to give us money to do large projects," said City Manager Carol Eberhardt. "The money will also be used for long-term planning for projects."

The money can also be used in the event of a disaster or emergency, Eberhardt said.

How much is deposited in the fund will depend on annual budget variables.

She said it just makes good sense for communities to have a fund with money set aside for projects or emergencies. The city will save money in the fund to pay for special projects on a sort of "wish list."

Projects could include work on the bridge in Depot Park or extending the sidewalk on the west side of North Main Street from Miller to the parking lot where Brioni Café is located.

Eberhardt said some of the projects on the list will include sidewalk repairs throughout the city.

"We will identify all areas in the village in need of repair and prioritize," she said.

The resolution passed by the council also states the money can be used for acquiring, constructing, extending, altering, repairing, or equipping public improvements or public buildings.

Under the city's definition of the fund, a capital improvement is a City facility or item such as a building, structure, physical improvement, facility repairs, road, parking lot, utility, land acquisitions, equipment or vehicles.

A restricted fund, once the money is transferred to the Capital Improvement Fund from the city's General Fund, it can only be used for capital improvements.

Eberhardt said the money will always stay in the fund unless the city has a capital improvement project or in the event of an emergency like a sewer line collapse.

"There are very specific rules to how you can spend the money," said Eberhardt.

Many communities use Community Block Grant (CBG) funding to complete special projects like those included on the city's wish list, but Clarkston has too much money.

"A lot of communities use the grants for capital improvements, but the city cannot due to the high income level of residents," said Eberhardt.

– Andrea Beaudoin

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