Lawrence council OKs $250K for street projects, proposes vehicle inspection fees

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City leaders in Lawrence passed an ordinance during its July 5 meeting to appropriate an additional $250,000 for the city’s local road and street fund that will go toward a roundabout and a pedestrian crossing project. Other agenda items included consideration of an ordinance that would establish vehicle inspection fees and a resolution to amend the city’s American Rescue Plan Act fund plan. The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 20 at the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St.

What happened: The council signaled its support to appropriate an additional $250,000 toward its local road and street fund. No one from the public spoke during a public hearing regarding the proposal.

What it means: Funding will be used toward a roundabout project planned at East 75th Street and Oaklandon Road. Earlier this year, the city was awarded funding as part of an 80 percent match for the project, according to the city’s website. Design work will start this year on the $1.8 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2025, according to the city. The city also plans to use a portion of the appropriated funds for a pedestrian signal-light crossing project at East 56th Street and Boget Drive, said City Council member Maria Rusomaroff.

What happened: The council had the first reading of an ordinance that would establish a vehicle inspection fee and a rebuilt motor vehicle inspection fee within the city.

What it means: The vehicle inspection and rebuilt motor vehicle inspection fees, both of which are $5, would be charged by the Lawrence Police Dept. for “various inspections, reports, and other tasks,” according to the proposed ordinance. All revenue generated by the inspection fees would go directly into the city’s law enforcement continuing education fund, according to the city. The council is expected to take action on the ordinance during its July 20 meeting.

What happened: The council had the first reading of a resolution that would amend the city’s ARP Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, otherwise known as the ARP Fund. The amendment was being proposed to provide for Next Level Trails grant matching funds. Council members are expected to consider passage of the resolution during its July 20 meeting.

What it means: The city of Lawrence has been allocated $11,167,161.17 in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, half of which was distributed in 2021, while the other half will be distributed this year. The city has earmarked $1.5 million for stormwater projects, $1 million for street paving, $10,000 for parks programming and an additional $10,000 for parks maintenance and upgrades as part of budget revenue replacement plans with the federal funds.

Initially, the city had proposed $968,368.25 for a 5% bonus for city employees, but the amendment being considered by the council reduces that amount to $747,636.93. The city is also proposing to use $220,731.07 for trail development and improvements, according to the amended plan.

In April, the city was awarded $1.7 million from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources through the Next Level Trails grant program, which will be used to construct two 10-foot-wide pedestrian trail segments in Lawrence encompassing 1.2 miles.

The first portion of the project will be on Lee Road from East 59th Street to East 63rd Street, while the second segment will be on East 63rd Street from Lee Road to Winona Drive. Construction of the trail could begin in late 2023 with the project being wrapped up in 2024, according to the city.

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