Cumberland, Md., to Seek Bond for Tech, Other Pertinent City Upgrades

The city council approved several projects worth more than $3 million, including an update to the city’s computer network, equipment and software.

by Greg Larry, Cumberland Times News / June 20, 2018
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(TNS) — The city of Cumberland, Md., approved several projects totaling more than $3 million to repair aging infrastructure and upgrade computer systems utilized by the city.

Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim and the city council approved the projects and their finance packages at Tuesday's regular council meeting at City Hall.

Upgrades will include major waterline improvements on Willowbrook Road totaling $750,000. In addition, the city will borrow $2.4 million by holding a bond sale to make a variety of upgrades.

The council voted unanimously to authorize the sale of general obligation bonds to raise money for computer network improvements including equipment and software. The funds will also be used to replace aging city vehicles and make various improvements at city owned facilities including the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant in South Cumberland and at the city water supply system at Lake Koon and Lake Gordon in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

According to Jeff Rhodes, city administrator, the project at Willowbrook Road includes replacing the water lines in the corridor from Interstate 68 to the area of Allegany College of Maryland and the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.

"That will replace a significant portion, but not all, of the 12-inch water line from out near the hospital to toward Golden Lane and I-68," Rhodes said following the meeting. "The water line has been in very bad condition and obviously you have some key public services .... the hospital, college and the health department situated in the area in addition to residences. It's something we've wanted to do for quite awhile. This won't do it all but it will do a portion of it."

Rhodes said borrowing through bond sales to maintain infrastructure is something done on a regular basis by many municipalities across Maryland.

"Every year this is typically a borrowing that takes place," Rhodes said. "Most of the borrowing is like seven to 10 year borrowing because it is an air compressor that has an estimated life of 10 years or a pickup truck with a seven-year estimated life. Then there is a longer term borrowing for filtration plant improvements that will have a longer-type life span. They may get stretched over several years.

"Now infrastructure improvements, they have a lot longer life span so they can be stretch that borrowing over 20 or 30 years, typically. So this is a normal thing that we would do. Unless you run into a year where you absolutely could not. But this is a year where we can do it."

The council also voted unanimously to give its final approval on a 5 percent increase on the trash collection and water bills beginning July 1 for city residents. The rate increases were initially developed by the mayor and council during budget negotiations which began in May. Tuesday's approval made the increases official.

©2018 the Cumberland Times News (Cumberland, Md.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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