By Karen Kennedy
Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider announced at the Sept. 3 city council meeting that the council had reached a majority agreement to use a bond to cover the full amount of the funding gap to cover the cost of the completion of Illinois Street.
In March the overall cost for the project was estimated at approximately $11 million and available funds earmarked for the project totaled $6.6 million, leaving a gap of approximately $4.4 million. Due to changes which have since occurred in both the estimated cost of the project and reserves set aside to pay for it, the total amount to be bonded for the project could reach $5.5 to $6 million.
“We will bond only for the precise amount needed for the project; nothing more,” Council Finance Chair Luci Snyder said.
The first step in the project is the movement of utilities. The mayor and the city council have been in a stalemate since earlier this year as to how the work will be paid for.
At the city’s budget meetings in July, Council President Rick Sharp expressed frustration that the mayor had not yet authorized the preliminary work of moving utilities – work that must be completed by the county but be paid for by the city.
“I was not prepared to authorize or begin any work on utilities until the council had come to an agreement on how this work would be paid for in full,” Mayor Jim Brainard said. “Now that I have a firm commitment from the council, we are ready to proceed.”
The approval for the utility work was granted at the city’s Sept. 4 Board of Works meeting.
Bids will be collected in November for the construction of the road and work will begin in the spring. The estimated goal for completion is the end of 2014.