Marshall city commissioners heard an outline for a new capitol improvement plan that aims to line up with the city’s Mobilize Marshall plan.

Public Works Director Eric Powell outlined the plan for commissioners at a work session following the Oct. 3 commission meeting. The plan is a two- to five-year financial plan to provide infrastructure changes to the city’s public works department.

He explained that since coming into the public works director position in July 2019, he has been examining previously done studies by the city, along with the goals established by Mobilize Marshall, to come up with a comprehensive Capitol Improvement Plan.

Powell said that the plan needs to be proportionally spread out, so that the city does not have a large debt to incur on a number of expensive projects in one year — while also being flexible enough to address any serious unexpected issues.

“One of the most important aspects we own in our city is our roads,” Powell said.

The CIP will address the systems underneath the roads, as well as road repair.

“We want to make sure that we address problems in our infrastructure, as well as road repair, to be sure we do not have to tear up recently-refinished roads,” Powell said.

This plan outlined a strategy that spreads expensive projects out over the years, marking the most important projects first and also including alternative forms of funding the city can examine.

Alternative funding possibilities outlined by Powell include potential grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Texas Water Development board.

FEMA offers a pre-disaster litigation fund which Marshall is specifically eligible for due to its location on storm evacuation routes. These repairs could include the replacement of the emergency generator at the water treatment plant that is from 1987.

The Texas Water Development board could alternately provide partial funding for projects like the replacement of of the water line from Caddo Lake to “Caddo Lake Jr.,” which could cost around $7 million.

The pipe, which is from 1947, would be replaced with a larger pipe, expanding from 24 inches to 36 inches.

Under the plan, the funding for 2020 would be $7.57 million, which would bring the budget up to $3 million for street repair — adding an additional $2 million more annually.

The additional $4.57 million will be used to make important infrastructure changes.

“We have a very low utility debt right now, which is the perfect situation to make these changes,” City Manager Mark Rohr said.

Commissioners, along with Mayor Terri Brown, all responded positively to the plan outlines by Powell.

“I am glad we have the right pieces in place to get this done,” Commissioner Larry Hurta said.

This plan works in conjunction with the recent water/wastewater rate study the city conducted to determine how much funding the city can incur for the CIP.

“With water rate studies, the public becomes concerned because everyone believes the rates will automatically go up, and that is not the case,” Powell said, “They do often go up, but we have been consistently raising rates every year so we do not expect a large jump.”

After the water/wastewater rate study is completed, Powell said that he hopes to present the findings to commissioners by December 2019, in preparation of solidifying plans for the next year.