The good news is that many city functions are operated by enterprise funds are supported by the revenues they collect, including the Sewer and Water Department, the airport and the parking garages.
Among them, a $15.8 million upgrade of the water system, which treats and distributes seven million gallons of Merrimack River water daily, is about to get under way, paid for entirely with state aid and user fees. The project includes improving filtration and security and replacing all 13,000 residential and commercial water meters.
The city also is under a federal mandate to divert storm water and other inflows from the 137 miles of underground pipes that carry sewage to a regional treatment plant in North Andover. The 10-year project is expected to cost $50 million, also paid for by state and federal aid and user fees.
Otherwise, for capital projects that don’t generate revenues or aid, the work will funded by borrowing and by the $800,000 that the state requires the city to set aside annually for capital projects.
“I can assure you, it’s going to be a fraction of what the needs are,” Ianello about the work that might get done over the next few years, then offered a short list of his priorities.
“I think there’s got to be a plan for police cruisers,” he said. “There’s roofs. I know there’s leaky roofs everywhere. Have you been to the police chief’s office? It seems pretty cramped. A new police station isn’t in the mix, but (Chief John Romero) should get it on the list. We’ve not asked the department heads to exclude anything.”