Roads, Police, and Fire make-up majority of C.I. budget

By Patrick Keck - [email protected]

PORTSMOUTH — Coming next Monday, Portsmouth City Council will give a first reading to approve a 2021 budget item for varying city departments.

With a vote in favor during the council’s next session, $1.7 million would be set aside for Capital Improvement Budget Funds 301, 606, 622 and 623.

Road work, identified as a pressing need during the city organizational meeting in February, makes up the lion’s share of the CI budget with more than 40% dedicated to its services.

“We really need to be investing because I don’t really need to tell you that our infrastructure is deteriorating,” said City Engineer Nathan Prosch during the Feb. 20 meeting to city officials.

Breaking down the $698,00 going into the streets, the city match for the Second Street paving is set at $143,200 and another $400,000 is going to resurfacing varying, undetermined city roads.

The Second Street repaving is part of Prosch’s proposal for the city’s 65 miles of roadway. A long-term commitment of approximately 15 years and north of $11 million is the estimate for that project.

The other departments receiving more significant portions are fire and police, making up together over a third of the budget. PPD would receive $304,000 for six marked vehicles, an expenditure City Manager Sam Sutherland said April 12 was done on an annual basis.

“You have to realize they’re all driving vehicles home and they all have their own vehicle,” he said, responding to a question from 5th Ward Councilman Edwin Martell.

Compared to last year’s approved budget, the sum is nearly identical and has remained within a range of $1.1 million and $1.9 million since 2013.

The C.I. budget was more volatile in the years before 2013. According to past budget files shared with the Portsmouth Daily Times, the council agreed to a budget allocation of $944,197 in 2011 after multiple original expenses were removed. The following year, the budget increased to $2.3 million.

Of the lower expenses, the McKinley Pool investment in 2021 is perhaps the most noteworthy. Some years receiving no funds, the city pool is currently set to receive $30,000 this year.

Like Prosch did with the roads, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon also shed light on the situation with the pool during the organizational session. She told fellow government officials that repairs and funds for lifeguard training were in high demand.

“I see the pool as an asset to the community,” she said in a March 8 article. “I would really like to pay attention to it earlier rather than later so that the kids can enjoy the pool when it gets hot and not have to wait.”

Another $8,000 would go toward a mural at the Skatepark. As of last month, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne told the Times that the city is still waiting for official clearance from the Army Civil Corps of Engineers for the groundbreaking.

Council will give its first reading of the budget and review other pieces of legislation during its April 26 session starting at 6 p.m. at the Shawnee State University ballroom.

By Patrick Keck

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.