“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.”
I believe I came across this quote while enjoying my delicious General Tso’s chicken from China Wok or Wang’s Kitchen, and I thought it was appropriate for this article. Although Confucius died over 2,500 years ago, his words still ring true to this day. Planning is the keystone to achieving your goals. Planning is not limited to individuals. In fact, planning becomes essential as more and more people are brought together. A community needs strong planning in order to continue its growth. As many of you know, the borough has recently completed substantial improvements to its parks system, stadium, sidewalks, and roadways. We hope the citizens of Brentwood utilize the tremendous resources now afforded to them by these renovations. However, these enhancements to our existing infrastructure come with costs. It is now more important than ever to continue comprehensive and diligent planning for our community’s future. With these things in mind, Borough Council has authorized the completion of a strategic plan that will address the development goals of our community for the foreseeable future. Many of you may recall filling out a survey in late 2016 regarding strategic goal setting for the Borough Council. These surveys have been analyzed and included into the forthcoming strategic plan. The Council and Borough administration have been busy meeting with citizens, local businesses, community leaders, and outside investors to formulate this plan. Drafting a plan that benefits all citizens of Brentwood is imperative.
The next step in this process is the creation of a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This CIP enables the Borough to spread out capital purchases for different departments over a ten year period. By creating this CIP, the Borough can see what costs it will incur in the future and address them accordingly. This enables the Borough to keep the tax burden of the citizens of Brentwood low, and it allows the administration staff to search for alternative sources of revenue for these future projects. If we know a few years in advance that we are going to need, for example, a new chipper for the Department of Public Works, we can investigate grants that would potentially subsidize this expense. This process also eliminates the “surprise” expenses of items that break down suddenly and thus prevent the Borough from having the option to shop around for the best price.
The Borough has proven success with a similar CIP when it adopted the 5-Year Street Rehabilitation and Maintenance Plan. This document eliminated the “guess work” of wondering when your street was going to be paved. The plan not only allowed the Borough to realize significant cost savings, but we found that we were able to add some additional streets each year because increased efficiencies reduced our engineering expenditures. In addition, we are able to send out the 5-year plan of streets to the utility companies so they know when the Borough is scheduled to repave a street. Consequently, this reduces the likelihood that a major utility project will result in the tearing up of a recently paved street.
The 10-Year CIP will be a daunting task, and you may be wondering how will the Borough will undertake this accomplishment without taxing its limited resources The Borough was successful in obtaining a grant given by the Local Government Academy to hire an intern to complete some of the crucial groundwork for this process. The Borough has hired Stephen Berry, a senior studying economics and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, to work on this project. Mr. Berry is looking forward to devoting his summer to help our community take a tremendous step towards further growth and success.
The Borough has continued to move in a positive direction with the recent improvements to infrastructure. The time has now come to the take the next step as a community and to create a strategic plan tied to a 10-Year CIP. This process will accelerate this growth and success while also allowing us to meet the needs of our citizenry. If we do not invest in the future of Brentwood, who will? I believe that the creation of this plan will allow Brentwood to exceed all expectations and continue down this pathway of success while also maintaining our strong sense of community.
George Zboyovsky, PE