Wednesday, January 11, 2012
GRANDVIEW - The Grandview City Council directed city staff Tuesday night to seek out funding for various improvement projects in the city.
The three projects under scrutiny last night were improvements to East Fourth Street and Birch Avenue, improvements to Euclid Road south of Groom Lane and badly needed upgrades to the Euclid lift station and primary clarifier.
The city will be seeking block grant funding for the utility and street improvements on Fourth Street from Ash Avenue to Elm Street. The application for the grant is due March 1, and consultant Jeffrey Louman described the application process as "rigorous."
Council member Jesse Palacios asked if Douglas Street could be included as an extra piece that could be done if the bids for the main project come in low enough. Louman explained that if they include it, they would have to do it. But since the block grant will pay up to $1 million of the project price, and the city will need to raise more money to finish the project as written, if the bids are low Douglas could easily be added at a later date, paid for from other funds the city raises.
The council directed staff to move forward with the project.
The improvements to Euclid Road represent a unique opportunity. The city already spent $45,000 in the designing of the project before funding ran dry. The region is getting an extra $1.5 million to be spread around the area for project design, and Grandview is in an ideal situation to qualify for some of that money.
The deadline for that application is also March 1, but Louman said the application process is considerably easier. With that grant, the project could be shovel-ready before summer.
A single downside to the grant would be that the project would then need to be completed within 10 years or the city may have to pay back the money. The council considered that an acceptable risk and instructed city staff to move forward with the project.
The upgrades to the Euclid lift station and primary clarifier were presented in stark terms to the council along with three options. The first option is to do the minimum and limp along, the second is to make some changes that would allow for later improvements but not solve the underlying issues and the third, and most expensive, option is to replace everything.
Fortunately, when the budget and rate increases for the sewer system were planned, an allowance was made for a possible future project. Because upgrades to the clarifier were included in that previous budget, taking out a loan to do the third option for both the lift station and the clarifier would have an end result of putting the city on better financial footing in the foreseeable future. The project would not require raising rates at all.
The electrical system of the clarifier was described as having been originally built in 1968 and moved to its current location in 1976. It was rated to last 20 years. The city is currently rebuilding parts of the system every eight months. With the very real possibility of a catastrophic failure looming, the council directed city staff to move forward with the loan application.