State budget deficit affects Capital Improvement Plan

For the second year in a row, due to the state budget deficit, the city of Homer will not receive money from the state for Capital Improvement Plan projects. Projects on the Department of Transportation list will be funded, however, according to Jenny Martin, legislative aide for Rep. Paul Seaton’s office. 

The last CIP funded was during the 2015 fiscal year, Martin said. The state legislature this year decided to fund projects that leverage federal money and statewide projects that benefit more than one district. Additionally, the state is still funding projects with contractual obligations that would penalize the state for stopping them.

“If they broke those contracts by not funding the project and completing their contract, they would be at risk for fines and/or having to pay back federal or other grant matches,” Martin said.

Despite the lack of state funding, Homer collected CIP project proposals from various organizations in town. The CIP project list, which will be sent for approval by the Homer City Council on September 12, is more of a wish list than a to-do list, said Jenny Carroll, speaking on behalf of the City of Homer.

Though there is no funding for the projects from the state, it does not mean the CIP is useless for those who submit projects. A project with a spot on the final CIP means it has the support of the city, which can be helpful when applying for grants, Carroll said. For instance, non-project organizations might put this as a part of a grant proposal as they seek sources of funding for a project on the CIP.

Homer creates a CIP each year that plans for major acquisition and construction projects, usually with a value of $25,000 or greater, for the next six years, according to a press release from the City of Homer. The current CIP proposals are for 2017-2022. In additional to city government projects, such as road, sewer or public safety projects, non-profit organizations and government agencies can also submit proposals.

The city will submit the proposals, which were due near the end of May, to various advisory committees on June 12, Carroll said. Each committee will hold meetings, which are open to the public, to go over the projects relevant to their areas of specialty. The committees will review the projects and decide which ones will go on the formal document to submit to the city in September. 

“(The city will) post the schedule publically so people are welcome to come and make comments at meetings,” Carroll said.

The public hearing notice for the city council’s meeting review of the final CIP document will go out in the middle of September, Carroll said.

Anna Frost can be reached at