On Monday, February 12, 2018, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and Summit County Council passed legislation approving and adopting the County’s 2018 Capital Improvements Budget of $12,643,855. The legislation also approved the Capital Improvements Program for 2018-2023, which serves as a blueprint of expected capital spending over the next five years.
The 2018 Capital Improvements Budget reflects financial and economic priorities established by the County Executive that focus on the success and security of Summit County residents. As local government resources remain scarce, the County’s capital dollars have been focused primarily on criminal-justice facilities, technology that improves government efficiency, and road, bridge and sewer infrastructure that benefit County residents and encourage business growth.
The County’s 2018 Capital Budget is $63.6 million, with $38 million to be spent on sewer system improvements, $16 million to be spent on roads and bridges, and $5.6 million on County facilities. Approximately $20 million of the $63.6 million is funded locally, with most of those dollars coming from either the motor vehicle gas tax or sewer user fees. The remainder is supplied from a combination of Federal and State funding in addition to low interest loans. Only a small portion of the Capital Budget – $2,239,930 is paid through the County’s General Capital Improvements Fund.
“For several years, the County has used its limited local capital dollars to invest in projects that improve services and safety for our residents, and leverage other capital resources to maximize the dollars we spend,” said County Executive Shapiro. “The 2018 Capital Budget continues this effort by focusing on areas of much needed technology, infrastructure and public safety, while continuing to emphasize the importance of collaboration, consolidation, sustainability, and economic development initiatives within Summit County.”
Program highlights include plans for the implementation of a County-owned Next-Gen compliant computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, which will cut costs, streamline services, and modernize and improve public safety communications systems. Currently, the cities of Akron, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge, Green and Fairlawn are working with the County to identify the vendor for this CAD system, which will support all of their dispatch operations at substantially less cost than if each purchased a separate system. This project comes as the County completes an upgrade of its emergency radio system into a P25 compliant system, which enables emergency, public service, school district, and healthcare employees throughout Summit County to communicate and coordinate services.
Further emphasizing the importance of public safety improvements and facility maintenance, the 2018 plan directs $1 million towards improvements in two of the County’s largest and most vital assets – the Summit County Jail and the Summit County Courthouse. Interior fencing and camera systems are some of the improvements to be made at the jail. The courthouse will receive much needed building repairs and will also be home to a new memorial honoring Summit County’s Veterans.
“Summit County is working tremendously hard to provide citizens with security and job opportunities, while working through major budgetary constraints from the State and Federal governments,” said County Council President John Schmidt. “The 2018 Capital Budget targets core areas within our county that need improvement and also funds projects that will further develop and strengthen our local and regional economy.”
In addition to public safety, economic development and infrastructure have been major focal points of Executive Shapiro’s administration and this capital plan. The County and the City of Akron have partnered with the Greater Akron Chamber to plan the Firestone Business Park off South Main Street in Firestone Park. Part of the old Firestone campus will be revitalized and transformed to open up new land for development in a core area of the County, while also serving as the new home of the County’s Department of Sanitary Sewer Services’ new combined maintenance facility