East Carbon specifies CIB priority list for water treatment, sewer lines
Although relatively few issues were brought before the East Carbon City Council on Jan. 26, the council made a few decisions that may affect the city's future. A Community Impact Board (CIB) funding priority list was addressed, as the council plans to apply for funding intended to upgrade and fix the city water treatment plant, as well as replace some water and sewer lines. In all, the city will apply for a $284,000 grant, with the water treatment plant as its number one priority. A second priority is 3,500 ft. of replacement sewer line near Columbia and a third priority is a fresh water transfer line. When the grant was discussed, the issue arose as to whether the city should accept a possible loan offer from the CIB, or some other kind of matching fund. However, the council voted to only accept a grant. Should a loan or other situation arise, the council will first have to consider the situation for approval.
"We've got to stand our ground, but that's a tough situation to be in," said Councilman David Avery, during the meeting.
Currently, according to Mayor LaFontaine, East Carbon is around $8 million in debt to the CIB. As the latest request for funding is a needed infrastructure upgrade, he believes they will sympathize with the city. The mayor also pointed out that, because the CIB is owed so much money by the city, he believes it's in their best interest to provide the necessary funding.
"Something like this has always been a top priority; they've already given us $100,000 for the treatment plant, and they want the city to be around to pay off its debts," said the mayor.
Councilman Andy Urbanik made it known that the CIB should already know that the city will request the $284,000, because of the previous amount that was given. Once the priority list was set, a discussion of how Sunnyside fits into the picture took place, with the mayor pointing out that, in the past, such applications for the treatment plant have been joint applications, because both cities utilize it. However, should the CIB turn down the city regarding the money, the mayor also indicated that other funding avenues have been considered, including the Army Corps of Engineers.
"It's going to be a fight for money if we get these projects in the next four years," said the mayor.
In an unrelated discussion, the mayor made it clear to all citizens of East Carbon City that the U.S. census survey will take place during the next few months. He urged everyone to fill out census forms as accurately as possible.
"We still face a lot of problems in this town. 80 percent of kids are under the poverty line. I'm a little concerned. Socially we're trying to turn things around and I don't think that new taxes are going to help. It's important that everyone fill out the census accurately, so we can get some of these federal grants. On the last census, (it indicated that) East Carbon City makes more money than Helper and I just don't see that," said the mayor.
Also, the mayor brought up his project for a pool add-on to the city's wellness center. This project, which is just in the concept stage, was discussed and concerns were taken in from the public. Most concerns centered on funding and liability issues. However, the mayor believes that, with the success of the wellness center, which he says brings in $20,000 per year, there will be enough funds to support the proposed pool. Although many of the specifics are unclear, the pool would not be very big and would be a member-only facility. The wellness center is also no longer available to overnight parking.
Finally, the council paid its playables and made a deal with a resident to reimburse $180 for her sewer line inspection if it does not tie in with the city sewer. They also congratulated Marilyn Vogrinec for a housing program that has fixed several low-income houses.