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Pinehurst Reviews Long-range Plan for New Projects

A five-year financial forecast for Pinehurst includes more than $20 million worth of long-term capital needs.

The forecast was presented to members of the Village Council on Thursday as part of a two-day strategic planning retreat. The most expensive need on the horizon is a road resurfacing project that will cost an estimated $5.6 million over a span of four years. A proposed expansion of Given Memorial Library, which the village agreed to take ownership of earlier this year, is expected to cost about $4.6 million, making it the second most expensive item in the forecast. Other big expenditures in the plan include: • $3.3 million for a proposed parking facility; • $1.7 million for a new fire truck with a ladder; • $1.6 million for walkways and sidewalks; • $1.5 million for stormwater improvement; and • $1 million for the initial development of West Pinehurst Park.

Brooke Hunter, director of financial services, explained that the projects could be funded through financing, private fundraising in the form of a capital campaign, or with money from Pinehurst’s savings. The village is projected to end the current fiscal year in June with $11.4 million in its fund balance, similar to a savings account. There may also be the option of using the $5 million in coronavirus-relief funds allocated to the village through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds, Hunter said, can be used only for certain projects.

“We’re not sure yet if or when the federal government will choose to broaden the uses of those funds,” she said, adding that the village has already received half of the money and is expected to receive the other half in August.

Councilwoman Jane Hogeman urged the board to be cautious about the one-time funding, warning that there may be conditions hidden in the fine print. “There may very well be strings attached, and I think we should be careful to look for those strings before we just go plunging in willy-nilly and accepting money,” she said. “The other thing is we need to be careful not to become dependent on a funding stream that may be temporary.”

Several potential capital needs are not included in the five-year forecast. Some of the projects left in waiting include a substation for the Pinehurst Police Department and a new building for the Public Services department.

The forecast is reviewed annually by the board, and the needs included in this year’s presentation were not dramatically different from the ones presented in 2020. One major difference, however, was the composition of the board. The retreat was in some ways an orientation for newly elected councilman Patrick Pizzella and Jeff Morgan.

“It was a very positive experience,” Morgan said in a phone interview on Thursday evening. “I must say that our staff in the village did a phenomenal job. (Village Manager) Jeff Sanborn and his crew were able to answer a series of questions, gave excellent briefings and were prepared to go different directions on the questions that I had or that other members of the council had.”

He added: “One of my main takeaways is that the Village of Pinehurst is blessed with the talent they have in their staff. Across the board, top to bottom — I was incredibly impressed with their professionalism and their expertise.”

Jaymie Baxley Reporter

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