Throughout the public process, residents expressed their appreciation for the quality and breadth of city and community services. It is expected that the city will lead the community with a strong commitment to sustainability – even through infrastructure changes. Long-term infrastructure investments are preferred over short-term remedies, and maintenance of existing infrastructure is preferred to the creation of new infrastructure (from both a financial and land use perspective). Citizens expressed a strong desire for the city to create a consistently balanced and practical approach toward infrastructure that will preserve the community’s hillsides visually and ecologically, efficiently use and reuse resources, and result in the responsible maintenance of the community’s investments.

The community is facing several challenges with its aging infrastructure, particularly in water, sewer and roadways. Maintenance of these systems was deferred during the 1980s, resulting in the overlap of several current upgrades and improvements, some of which are mandated by federal or state requirement. These costs will likely stretch capital-improvement budgets for some time.

Bridges also pose a particular challenge. Out of 32 active city bridges, 11 are on the state’s “red list” for various deficiencies. A six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is reassessed each year, particularly as it relates to bridges, street reconstruction and resurfacing, water system improvements, drainage improvements, sewer rehabilitation and other related items.

Specific studies for water and sewer have also been undertaken, and these recommend specific courses of action so that the city may meet its federal requirements. The strategies in this plan are not meant to replace these specific studies or federal requirements, but rather enhance them and ensure that the city is able to address infrastructure needs creatively and in a financially responsible manner.