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HOLYOKE — The days of the city having to stumble into overpaying to replace broken vehicles and buildings could be over thanks to a proposal to create a Capital Stabilization Fund from mayoral candidate Rebecca Lisi.

The City Council Finance Committee on Monday, May 10, 2021 began discussing a capital planning order filed by Lisi, a city councilor at large.

Lisi’s Capital Stabilization Fund would establish a dedicated fund to ensure that the city can cover the expenses associated with replacing vehicles and fixing buildings and other facilities with a regularity that will avoid costly repairs caused by waiting too long.

Up to now, lack of planning has relegated the city to lurching from one capital need to another.

Such lack of foresight can lead to the city being forced to pay a ton to fix a truck or building that should have been replaced or repaired years ago.

The city has had to scurry to replace relics of police cruisers, fire engines and public works trucks that were kept in service well beyond their useful life.

This failure to plan jeopardizes employees’ safety and hinders the services that taxpayers depend on and have paid for.

No more.

“A capital stabilization fund and capital investment plan will help us maintain high quality service delivery with predictable purchases and maintenance of our service vehicle fleets, equipment and building conditions,” Lisi said.

Three existing parts of the city budget have been identified as sources that could seed the Capital Stabilization Fund, Lisi said:

1. A one-time transfer from the Emergency Stabilization, or rainy-day, fund.

2. A transfer from free cash. That’s money that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue certifies is available to a municipality in funds that went unspent in accounts from the previous fiscal year.

3. Money will soon become available after the city pays off debts.

The Finance Committee will resume discussion of the Capital Stabilization Fund at a future meeting, said Lisi, chairwoman of the City Council Ordinance Committee.

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