Auburn begins work on capital to-do list, borrowing


AUBURN — City officials are starting early on their to-do lists and capital projects.

City Manager Clinton Deschene and school Superintendent Katy Grondin outlined proposed projects and capital purchases for the coming year at a special joint City Council-School Committee workshop Monday.

Now, they’ll go back to their staff to find out which projects are most important. They’ll present that list and all of the capital projects at joint city-school meeting on March 17.

For the city, that includes $6 million in borrowing for road paving and reconstructions, $1.1 million for the city’s share of a hangar at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, $475,000 to replace the Auburn Fire Department’s Tower One truck and other projects, and $2.1 million for school maintenance.

“What I’m seeing is a spreadsheet in priority order,” Deschene said. “It’s a tough decision, but we have to come down to it. If it’s dead last on the list, that means that’s where you start to cut first.”

For school officials, the priority is finding out how much money they’ll be allowed to borrow to maintain school buildings.

“Is that going to fly?” committee member Bonnie Hayes asked. “Tell us, please, if $2.1 million is going to fly or if we need to be at $1 million? You don’t have to do it tonight, but give us some direction.”

Capital spending for the city and the schools could be much higher. Grondin pointed to a school facilities study that found $56 million worth of work the city could perform to catch up on maintenance.

Deschene said it could be a matter of sustainability and could effect the city’s bottom line.

“We are not sustaining our assets and there is a risk associated with that,” Deschene said.

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