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Supervisors update capital needs assessment list


Last updated 5/9/2013 at Noon

The County of San Diego’s Capital Improvement Needs Assessment Program was updated April 23 during the San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The updated needs assessment approved on a 5-0 vote retains land acquisition for the San Luis Rey River Park as an item requiring funding over the next five years and also retains the acquisition of land for the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), the replacement of the Regional Communications System (RCS) network, and the replacement of existing grass fields at various county parks with synthetic turf while adding irrigation and energy efficiency programs for county parks.

“These improvements are a testament to the county’s fiscal responsibility and accountability, as they are reviewed and re-approved annually. I’m especially proud of the San Luis Rey River Park,” said Supervisor Bill Horn.

The 2013-2018 needs assessment covers facilities projects slated for capital improvement between 2013 and 2018 but does not include funding for those projects. The supervisors’ vote, however, also referred the program to the county’s Chief Administrative Officer to determine timing and funding mechanisms to implement the individual projects.

The plan includes approximately $684.4 million in partially funded and unfunded priority projects. Because the capital planning process which includes the Capital Improvement Needs Assessment Program focuses on facilities, road projects are not included on the capital improvements list. A Facilities Planning Board prioritizes projects based on criteria including benefits and linkage to the county’s strategic plan.

The partially funded and unfunded projects on the list consist of projects estimated to exceed $10 million, which were ranked by the Facilities Planning Board, and projects estimated to cost under $10 million, which were listed but not ranked. Additional projects which have been identified but require further analysis to define their scope will be brought to the Board of Supervisors for inclusion on a future Capital Improvement Needs Assessment Program list.

The replacement of the RCS ranks first among the seven partially funded and unfunded major (over $10 million) projects. The project to design, procure, and install the next-generation system has an estimated cost of $100,000,000, and $7,102,436 of that has currently been funded. County staff members have worked with more than 100 public safety agencies and medical operations who use the current system as part of the effort to develop the requirements for the new system. The county is developing a Memorandum of Understanding with its regional partners which will include a cost-sharing agreement, and a Request for Proposals is expected to be issued in January 2014.

The MSCP land acquisition now ranks second among the seven major projects. The county has already purchased more than 18,000 acres for the MSCP and anticipates the acquisition of up to an additional 17,800 acres. The estimated total cost to acquire the remaining amount is $301.3 million, and $152.3 million has been funded.

The future San Luis Rey River Park will include open space areas including trails, staging areas, and habitat preservation corridors. Since those open space areas are for the most part within the draft MSCP boundaries, the MSCP funding will be available to purchase open space land within the river park. The river park plans also include active recreation such as ball fields, play areas, and picnic facilities, although that land would not be eligible for MSCP funding.

The Capital Improvement Needs Assessment Program only addresses land acquisition for the river park, which was ranked sixth among the seven major priorities. Since the boundaries of the river park are yet to be determined and land will be obtained only from willing sellers, the total acquisition cost estimate may require adjustment. The San Luis Rey River Park will cover approximately 1,600 acres, and the linear park will stretch for approximately nine miles.

In July 2005 the county supervisors appropriated $5 million to purchase land for the river park, and the county’s 2006-07 budget provided an additional $3 million. More than 500 acres have already been purchased, and approximately 850 acres will be acquired as part of the California Department of Transportation mitigation requirements for the widening of State Route 76.

The acquisition of an additional 250 acres, including 40 to 60 acres for two active recreation sites, has an estimated cost of $16.1 million, including $6.0 million which has been funded.

“I’m very pleased to see these two projects continue to receive funding,” county Department of Parks and Recreation director Brian Albright said of the river park and the MSCP. “These two projects will continue to provide for both the preservation of the land there and additional recreation opportunities.”

The development of the river park itself has an estimated cost of $50 million.

The program to retrofit existing parks with artificial turf will reduce water bills. The most recent cost estimate for the remaining parks was $2.5 million.

A separate parks water conservation program would retrofit irrigation controllers with a central system, repair and upgrade outdated or faulty irrigation systems, and retrofit water-consumptive fixtures and equipment. Funding for $100,000 of the estimated $1,000,000 cost has been provided.

Another parks program would provide energy upgrades to park facilities and buildings. That program would retrofit interior and exterior lighting with energy-efficient fixtures, including light-emitting diode illumination. None of the $2,500,000 cost estimate has been funded.

The list of fully-funded but uncompleted projects includes the Live Oak Park Amphitheater. The gazebo and picnic area is being replaced with an amphitheater which will include a stage and seating for approximately 100 people. The project has a budget of $471,000, and completion of the construction phase is expected in Fall 2013.


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