City’s plan requests to be unveiled at meeting

ALPENA – Mayor Matt Waligora has called a special meeting for Alpena Municipal Council and the Alpena Planning Commission to discuss the city’s capital improvement plan. The plan is updated annually and is a comprehensive, department by department list of capital needs spanning six years and listed by priority. After approved by both boards the items on the CIP are considered by the council for funding during the budget process.

City Engineer Rich Sullenger said the CIP has 252 proposed projects in it that would total more than $48 million if they were done at one time. He said the council will approve what it can based on the money available in the budget. He said having the plan in place is important because it is a reminder of what the city’s needs are.

“The plan lists what we need and even though there is no way to fund all of it, it allows us to see where our largest needs are,” Sullenger said. “There are things that millions of dollars and other things that are much less. The council will decide what the city can afford.”

The joint meeting allows department heads to explain their needs and requests to the two boards. He said by statute the planning commission needs to approve the plan, followed by the council. After it is approved by both all decisions thereafter are made by the council.

Sullenger said there sre a lot of projects that need to be done. Among some of the items in the plan are a new police car, a boiler replacement for the Public Safety Building and numerous road projects. He said because of the current economic landscape in Alpena only a small percentage of the projects will be done in the next six years.

“For quite a few years now we have had to put off capital improvement plans because we just don’t have the money to do them,” Sullenger said. “The council can only do what the budget dictates. We have a lot of needs out there, but we also have managed to do a lot with what we have.”

Sullenger said department heads began putting their list together on Oct. 1 and submitted them just before the end of 2012. He said the lists were gone through by the administration and then when complete forwarded to the two boards. Sullenger said this year he sent more plans than in years past because new people could be involved in the budget and project selection process.

“This year is a bit different because of the special election,” Sullenger said. “I sent all of the candidates a copy of the CIP. So no matter who wins they will be familiar with what the needs are, how much they cost and how big of a priority they are.”

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. inside council chambers at city hall. Sullenger said people will have a chance to comment on the plans during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.