Lynchburg City could face more than $12 Million deficit with College Lake Dam project

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Lynchburg City could face a nearly $13 million dollar deficit.

The figures were discussed at a budget retreat Tuesday night as part of the city's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

This comes after last year's flooding at the College Lake Dam. “We were very lucky that the dam did not fail completely," said Erin Hawkins with Water Resources.

It was upwards of six inches of rain that pounded the Lynchburg area on August 2.

Within hours, homes were evacuated and fears of the College Lake Dam failing, grew. “That was sort of a sucker punch to us and is going to require a tremendous amount of money," said City Manager Bonnie Svrcek.

Now, city leaders are tasked with finding a solution.

Erin Hawkins with Water Resources says a new bridge needs to be built, the lake drained and the dam removed. “It is going to be very expensive and our goal is to get in there and do it right the first time," said Hawkins.

That requires a budget of roughly $47 million.

It was something the city wasn’t anticipating - at least right now. “We knew we were going to have to do it at some point, we just have got to fast forward it," said Svrcek.

Fast forward to the 2019, five year Capital Improvement Plan.

The added expenses leaves the city with a $12.7 million deficit for fiscal year 2023. “By adjusting timelines, the size and scope of some major projects, some things will be improved over the current budget," said Svrcek.

Some big ticket items on the Capital Improvement plan include a new public-safety complex and some middle school renovations/replacements.

For now, the city has to decide, what needs to be addressed first. “We need to do a better job of taking care of our physical assets because all of those contribute to our quality of life," said Svrcek.

Svrcek will present her entire operational budget at a March council meeting.

She says the school projects may need be set aside to address the College Lake Dam first.