BLOOMFIELD — Like millions of cash-strapped families gathered around the dinner table trying to keep the household running amidst dwindling income and rising expenses, Bloomfield City Council held a special work session Monday to discuss a sizable wish list of infrastructure projects.
A summary of more than 60 needed projects vied for the council's attention in the city's Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. The working draft of planned projects with estimated expenses was unanimously approved by councilors during the work session.
Teresa Brevik, the city's special projects manager, developed the plan and presented the list to city council.
High on the list, similar to those around the country, were projects involving water -- primarily water supply and wastewater. A proposed new water storage tank, a second phase of work for a back-up water supply -- called Second Source -- from intake points along the San Juan River, and efficiency and technological upgrades to the city's wastewater plant were three big-ticket projects that topped the list.
Costs for just those three infrastructure projects totaled close to $50 million.
Discussion moved to landscaping and irrigation for the thus-far bare medians along Bloomfield Highway.
City Manager David Fuqua cited a 2007 survey sent to residents to solicit input on the city's priorities going forward. Overwhelmingly, people identified bigger and better parks and beautifying the city as most important, Fuqua said.
We just need some guidance on whether to do it or not," David Fuqua told the council. "It can be first-class if we want it. We don't want to half-do it. We have a chance to do it 100 percent."
Mayor Scott Eckstein endorsed the median work, which would enhance the look of the city with planted trees, flowers fed by an irrigation watering system.
"I think it's really important for economic-development purposes," Eckstein said. "What business wants to open up around a bunch of dirt and weeds along the highway? "Done right, gross receipts can come through to help offset the costs. If you look at Aztec, I think they realized the look of their town makes a difference."
Fuqua emphasized that the beautification work along the major thoroughfare that connects the city with Farmington would pay greater dividends than just a colorful swatch of plantings in the middle of the road.
"This isn't just a highway," Fuqua said. "It'd be the whole town, to change the look of Bloomfield, to put the bloom in Bloomfield. It just takes H-2-O."
Fuqua proposed some of the work necessary to beautify the city be done by affordable youth workers enlisted during summer.