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City commissioners over the next few weeks plan to decide how Bozeman will spend its money set aside for streets, water and sewer infrastructure.

The Capital Improvement Plan lays out a timeline and budget for projects over the next several years. City Finance Director Kristin Donald presented city commissioners the proposed plan for public works funds this week, which includes things like the street maintenance fund and water and wastewater funds.

The commission plans to review the proposed plan for general funds and some other special revenue funds at its Dec. 7 meeting and is scheduled to vote on the plan Dec. 14.

City staff discussed at Tuesday’s commission meeting how staffing is impacting the city’s ability to do street projects.

City Manager Jeff Mihelich said the city is without a public works director and city engineer, though he said he has shortlisted candidates for both positions and plans to start interviews soon.

“We really just don’t have the staff in some respects to do the management and analysis on some of these projects,” Mihelich said. “(At the) top of the organization in public works we’re very light on staff.”

The proposed plan schedules the extension of Fowler Lane from Huffine Lane to Oak Street in fiscal years 2024 and 2025, and adding bike lanes and sidewalks on Babcock Street from 15th Avenue to 19th Avenue in fiscal year 2026.

Improvements to the intersection of Oak Street and Flanders Mill Road are scheduled for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

According to Donald’s presentation, $1 million is being set aside for the next fiscal year for right-of-way acquisitions for the Fowler connection project.

The plan states that bike lanes will be included in all the road projects funded through the street impact fee fund. It includes proposals to purchase additional vehicles for the city’s fleet. Donald said the city is seeing an increase in costs for vehicles and other equipment across the board this year.

The plan also includes proposed spending on water and wastewater infrastructure. Planned improvements to the city’s Sourdough intake that were scheduled for fiscal years 2025 and 2026 have been moved to fiscal year 2023. Donald said the city is seeking American Rescue Plan Act money to help fund the $5.1 million project.

Mihelich said the city is trying to focus on how to use the capital improvements plan to expand land available for housing.

“There’s many improvements within the CIP that will open up opportunities for housing ... mostly sewer and water,” Mihelich said. “We’ve been trying very diligently to extend and invest CIP funds in infrastructure to unlock properties.”

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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