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The Marco Island City Council’s decision to move forward with improvements to Marco Shores will pay dividends to expedite other work in the city’s five-year capital improvement plan.

Jeff Poteet, general manager of the city’s Water and Sewer Department, said the decision will free up $2.17 million to fund other projects in the water and sewer capital program.

“There is a $1.4 million shortfall in the last year of the program,” Poteet said. “However, as projects in the four years are completed, we expect that deficit to dissipate.”

More: City to discuss options for Marco Shores water improvements at Monday's council meeting

The City Council approved an estimated $9.49 million project that will not only provide wastewater improvements but will install a new water pipeline connecting Marco Shores with Marco Island.

While the project was the most expensive option, it was estimated to provide $5 million in savings over a 10-year period through the reduction of operating costs of its wastewater treatment plant, reduction of impact fees and the sale of land.

In a presentation to the Council last week, Poteet showed them what capital investments the Water and Sewer Department were making as a result of updated budget figures.

One is a $750,000 investment in electrical improvements to the motor control centers at the South Water Treatment Plant. Some of the breakers are so old that city staff has had to buy parts off of eBay to keep the system running. The generator automatic switchgear was also damaged during Hurricane Irma.

Like other departments, the Water and Sewer Department is also in need of better working conditions and has budgeted for the construction of a new multi-departmental building.

Poteet said that staff is negotiating with an architect to evaluate designs from 2009 and provide an updated cost estimate.

City staff has asked the city to approve a $1.67 million request to help push this building project along.

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