North Carolina county to spend $700,000 annually on facilities maintenance

North Carolina county to spend nearly $700,000 annually on facilities maintenance

Officials in Sampson County, North Carolina, say they will need about $700,000 every year to perform the necessary municipal maintenance on its facilities throughout the region, the Sampson Independent reports.

According to the media outlet, members of the Public Works department recently completed a full study on the county's infrastructure that provided a detailed look at the maintenance needed in 26 buildings. The study concluded that $82.8 million would be needed to replace and repair every failing item in the buildings. After the report, the country created four infrastructure capital maintenance accounts, which include both school districts in the county, as well as the community college.

Officials in charge of the study wrote that the county will need to set aside $500,000 every year to complete the maintenance, which included repairs to roofs, HVAC systems, interior finishes, exterior enclosures and site improvement like parking space.

In a recent meeting, county officials decided that for the 2013 budget, this maintenance will also include repairs on plumbing, electrical systems and fire protection systems, such as the buildings; sprinklers. This brought the annual spend up another $200,000.

"This year we've added the rest of the layers that we think it's worthwhile to track," Sampson County Public Works director Lee Cannady said during a recent Board of Commissioners meeting.

According to the news source, although the square footage of needed maintenance is the same as last year, the 2013 cost of deferred maintenance came in at $1,571,897, compared to $900,000 last year.

A new system
However, the county has developed a new program that officials say will help it allocate funds to exactly where they should go. The new Sampson County Infrastructure Maintenance Program was originally designed for the initial study, but is now being used to create the capital reserve accounts.

"This was a good endeavor," Cannady added. "This is the best tool that I've had in the 20 years I've been here. We are very appreciative of the Board of Commissioners taking the initiative to set aside funds to [allow] for infrastructure improvements."

For the next 10 years, the county expects to pay $6,941,781 in maintenance costs, prompting planners to decide to set aside exactly $694,178 each year.

"It is imperative that we continue to try to set reserve funds aside in order to meet the annual projections," Cannady said. "Without these reserve funds, we will continue to compound these increased deferred maintenance costs."

Deferred maintenance is a problem all over the country. According to ABC affiliate WZZM, budget cuts have slashed maintenance funding in Michigan, which has caused many municipalities to put maintenance projects aside.

Using maintenance management software can help towns better plan for maintenance period, avoiding costly downtime.

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