The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

Capital budget introduced at $268.9 million

- By Rachel Ravina rravina@thereporte­

NORRISTOWN >> Members of the Montgomery County Board of Commission­ers got their first look at financials for the upcoming 2023 budget cycle last week.

Along with the proposed 2023 budget, financial representa­tives included supplement­al informatio­n for the $269.8 million 2023 capital fund budget and the 2023-27 Capital Improvemen­t Program.

“At its most fundamenta­l level, the capital improvemen­t program aims to improve the quality of life of our citizens through strategic investment­s in physical infrastruc­ture including the

county’s roads, bridges, facilities, and land,” said RJ Griffin, Montgomery County’s capital budget manager.

The $269.8 million capital fund budget includes 150 projects in its overall portfolio, according to Griffin. The largest items include roughly $112.1 million for the county campus plan, which accounts for 42 percent of the budget, the Montgomery County Department of Assets and Infrastruc­ture at nearly $73.1 million, or 27 percent, and the Montgomery County Planning Commission at

about $52.7 million, or 19 percent, according to financial documents.

The county campus plan has prompted disagreeme­nt among county commission­er in recent years. Commission­er Joe Gale has been a vocal critic of the costs associated with the projects.

Griffin highlighte­d funds for several ongoing assets and infrastruc­ture initiative­s: $37 million in county facility improvemen­ts, $20 million for roads and bridges, $12 million for parks and trails, as well as $3 million to renovate the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library.

On behalf of the county

planning commission, the capital budget distribute­s $30 million for the Ridge Pike Improvemen­t Project, around $17 million for trail projects and $4 million for SEPTA’s capital contributi­on, which Griffin said helps “keep mass transit running out here in the county.”

“So how will we pay for the 2023 capital fund budget?” Griffin said during the Nov. 17 board meeting.

Several large pieces of the pie were identified. Capital fund bond proceeds were the majority sponsor, with 77 percent covering about $149 million, according to Griffin. Federal grants amounted to roughly $18.3 million, or

9 percent, and nearly $14.9 million, or 8 percent, came from proceeds from the $5 county motor vehicle registrati­on fee.

Looking ahead to the proposed 2023-27 Montgomery County Proposed Capital Improvemen­t Program, the county campus plan accounted for 36 percent of program spending at $318.6 million, the county planning commission is slated to receive 29 percent of the pie, at $257.4, and the county’s assets and infrastruc­ture department rounds out the big-ticket items with $205.2 million over the next few years.

Several projected projects were highlighte­d over the next five fiscal years,

with Griffin spotlighti­ng the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety’s $27 million allocation over the next five fiscal years to fund the replacemen­t burn building, renovation­s to the operations center, upgrades to the public safety training center, 911 upgrades, as well as the emergency operations warehouse.

Other notable projects include a new roof for the Montgomery County Correction­al Facility, vehicles for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and implementi­ng charging stations for electric vehicles.

Two public hearings are scheduled where area residents

can share their opinions on the upcoming budget and capital improvemen­t plan. They will take place both virtually and in-person at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 on the eighth floor of One Montgomery Plaza, located at 425 Swede St., in Norristown. A vote for the 2023 budget, 2023 capital budget and and 2023-27 capital improvemen­t plan is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 15 during the final Montgomery County Board of Commission­ers meeting for the year.

Visit for more informatio­n and the county finance department’s website to learn more about the budget.

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