The Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave its approval in three separate votes Tuesday to spending a total of $214,956 to correct drainage problems and do related work in the Markham Drive, Brookmeade Circle and Bagley Drive areas of the city.
That includes $94,500 for the replacement of a tile with a box culvert on Markham Drive, $30,000 for construction of a temporary road connecting Brookmeade Circle and Markham Drive and $90,256 for drainage repairs along Bagley Drive. Those projects will be completed by Curbers, Inc., Lincoln Paving, and Contracting Services, Inc., respectively.
In somewhat related action, the board also approved a proposal to put out requests for qualifications (RFQ’s) for engineering firms, with which the city would work throughout the fiscal year instead of having to advertise for engineering services on each upcoming project individually as the city pursues remedies for storm water drainage issues.
In other business, the board approved the following items:
ü The Turn Fayetteville Teal campaign planned for September to increase awareness and raise funds for ovarian cancer research, a mission of the Quatina M. Wolver Foundation of Hope.
ü Permits for two downtown events, one of those being the 16th Annual Trail of Tears set for Oct. 26, and the Mingle and Jingle downtown on Nov. 2.
ü Annual budget amendments covering items, most of which were approved throughout the fiscal year.
In his report to the board, City Administrator Scott Collins noted that plans continue to be made for an Aug.16 groundbreaking for the Camp Blount Historical Site on the Huntsville Highway. Details are in the process of being finalized.
“We are making plans to appear before the state building commission on Aug. 8 to submit the final Phase I plan,” he said, noting that the first phase in the development of Camp Blount includes the Volunteer Pavilion, Volunteer Plaza, the First Volunteer Statue, a parking area and restrooms. “All of it is gearing up for a March 2020 unveiling of the statue.”
A groundbreaking is also being planned for Phase I of the city’s Greenway Master Plan, a walkway connecting the downtown with Stone Bridge Memorial Park. A preconstruction conference is set for July 23, he said, adding that the groundbreaking should following within a week of two of that.
Phase II of the Greenway, which includes construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Elk River connecting the Phase I project with Camp Blount and the Huntsville Highway shopping district, has been approved by the state building commission, he said, noting that the bridge is at least partially on state property. Engineers on the Phase II project are still looking at a tentative bid date of Aug. 8 with a bid opening of Sept. 12.
The recreation and aquatic center feasibility study is moving forward, Collins continued, noting that meetings are being scheduled for the last of July with various groups that are stakeholders. A public meeting is also expected to be scheduled and announced.
Plans for the Local Parks and Recreation Funds (LPRF) grant project, which is expected to see a soccer complex developed on Wilson Parkway, remains in the works – “We’re just in a holding pattern on that,” said Collins, noting that plans are currently under review by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Collins also noted that the city has submitted sidewalk improvements for a state multimodal access grant, which would ultimately see the Tennessee Department of Transportation providing 95-percent of the funds to a local match of five percent if the project were to be approved.
He noted that the pre-application process does not require any obligation of the city at this time; however, if the project were to be selected for advancement, it would be up to the City Board as to whether to proceed. Sidewalks that would be improved include those on the south, west and north sides of the square.
The grant application was submitted to the state last year but did not gain approval.
‘No’ vote clarified
Alderman Donna Hartman said she would like to clarify her ‘no’ vote on the FY 2019-2020 budget last month.
“I just want to say that I never mentioned grants in my explanation, nor the match money for the grants, mainly because this was an item that was voted on and approved by the past board,” she said. “The money was set aside in the general fund until such time as it was needed; therefore, the match money did not create the budget deficit. It just happened in the 2019-2020 budget, that’s when the expense came due, so $500,000 was transferred from the general fund to the capital projects fund to cover this expense.
“Why would I oppose grants? This is semi-free money given by the government with which we can do great things for our city.”
Referring to the city’s budgeted deficit of $467,057 for 2019-20, she added, “This amount will be taken out of the general fund to balance this budget, and the money for the one year payment on the purchase of the police cars will be taken from the general fund and placed to debt service, so the bottom line, the deficit for the 2019-2020 budget is $467,000, and the other amounts will also come from the general fund and this will reduce our bank balance,” she added. “I think it’s the duty as aldermen that we make this clear for the public so that they understand it.”
City Finance Director Stacy Rozell said following the meeting that $170,000 is included in the 2019-2020 budget for the purchase of the police vehicles.
“The city is in very strong financial shape,” said Mayor Michael Whisenant after the meeting. “We are investing the money that is being pulled out of our reserve fund during the current budget cycle back into the community to enhance quality of life for the betterment of our citizens, and making sure that our city employees have the equipment needed to perform their jobs at a high level each and every day.”