Price City Council Splits on Decision to Move Forward on “Town Square” Funding

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The Price City Council met Wednesday Jan 7 for their regularly scheduled meeting. It was the first meeting of 2013. The council moved quickly through the agenda until the discussion turned to a potential grant available from U-dot to begin work on the “Town Square” project.

Kathy Hanna-Smith and the Community Progress Committee has been working on a proposal for a project to upgrade and improve the City Hall block in downtown Price. The concept would improve the perimeter of the block with sidewalk benches, improved street lighting, hanging flower baskets, pole banner supports and trees. В The estimate for the entire project is $1,160,000.

Jones and DeMille Engineering firm has drawn up concept plans for the full project. В After Council women Kathy Hanna Smith presented the project, Public Works Director, Gary Sonntag then filled the council in on a U-DOT grant for approximately $350,000 that could jump start the project. The match for Price City would be 6.77% or around $20,00 if the full amount was awarded.

Several issues arose. The grant needed to be received at U-DOT offices this Friday. The second was the grant required the entity applying would fully commit to the project they were applying for. This could potentially put the city on the hook for the remaining balance on the 1.1 million dollar project.

There is a potential that Price City could look to CIB funding for part of the project. However, the next funding cycle Price City can even consider is 2014-15. Even with that, it would most probably be given as a loan at 2.5% and not a grant.

Mayor Joe Piccolo proposed the project be broken down into a four-phase proposal. The first phase funding could be sought from the U-DOT grant. Sonntag felt he could pull the grant proposal together quickly and meet the deadline if that is what the council chose to do. He did express concerns that too many Main Street improvement projects have come and gone with very little change. He was hoping there was some solid commitment to see this one through all four stages.

There was considerable back and forth discussion on the timing of moving forward with the project with the state of the economic hardships facing the area. Grady McEvoy pointed out that the commitment of the council could not be guaranteed into future councils.

Piccolo asked, “If we only get a third of the funding will we be better off than if we got nothing? I say yes.”

In the end, the council split three for pursuing the U-DOT grant. McEvoy and Wayne Clausing opposed it.

Other business of the night approved $500 in match to the Foster Grandparent Program pending a public hearing. Also approved was a Outside water hook-up request and the adoption of a new Section X in the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual including a severance program.

Wade Williams,City Sanitation, informed the council that they would have to raise the fees for garbage service by .50 per can due to an increase in tippage fees by ECDC. Last year the fees were dropped by .50 per can. This increase will bring the rates back to the 2011 levels.

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