During a Dec. 6 meeting, the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board accepted a motion to fully fund the joint East Carbon-Sunnyside public safety building project to the tune of $1.9 million.
The project will house the East Carbon and Sunnyside fire departments as well as the Sunnyside ambulance service.
The CIB had previously decided to grant $1.6 million for the project, requiring the two cities to pay for an increase in construction costs totaling nearly $300,000 because of delays and logistical problems encountered by the municipalities.
East Carbon and Sunnyside have been trying to join ranks on the project for nearly two years since the towns approached the CIB requesting funds to upgrade the cities' fire departments and the ambulance services.
After the CIB requested that the neighboring towns come together and share a building, the cities spent more than a year trying to finalize an interlocal agreement for the project. It was the initial request of the CIB that East Carbon and Sunnyside combine fire departments, something that the two towns could not accomplish.
After many council meetings and public hearings, the cities decided that the fire departments would remain separate and share the building along with the ambulance service.
It has been the contention of both cities that providing for the ambulance department was the most crucial part of obtaining funding for the building.
The Sunnyside City ambulance service is currently housed near the end of Utah State Road 123.
According to ambulance offificials, the existing building is severely run down and inadequate for the service. Ambulance representative Barbara Robinett has repeatedly stated at council meetings for both cities that it is a danger to both communities to have the safety vehicle remain in its current facility.
'I am ecstatic about the CIB's decision,' said Robinett. 'We will finally have a safe place that is big enough to house both of our ambulances.'
Sunnyside city councilmember Doug Parson's shared similar sentiments.
'I think it went really well up there, in the beginning things didn't look so good and I didn't think they were going to grant us fully,' said Parsons. 'But as the meeting went on our city's limited financial resources seemed to be the determining factor in the project getting granted fully. We are planning to start construction in the coming spring.'
While all officials who offered comment are happy about the ambulance being brought down out of Whitmore Canyon, East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine had serious issues with the cost that the new building is going to have for East Carbon residents.
'This building is going to really cost the city of East Carbon. Every other project that we have been working on for the last two years is now dead in the water,' said LaFontaine. 'The likelihood that the CIB will fund any or provide the matching portion for any grants the city has already received does not look very good at this point.'
LaFontaine reported that East Carbon will be going in front of the CIB in January to discuss their health and safety project which includes two new police vehicles to replace the current five year old models, a skate park for youth recreation and a walking trail for the whole community.
'It seems petty to talk about recreation when this building will house something as important as the ambulance service. But it is my opinion that the lack of activities for the youth in our community is very dangerous,' said LaFontaine.
According to the East Carbon mayor, projects including the Columbia subdivision public restroom project and a possible city recreation center are also now in jeopardy.
'I am really happy about getting the building funded, I am just weary of the cost it is going to have for the city of East Carbon. When we initially went before the CIB is was for $300,000 to upgrade our fire department housing and this project has ended up costing our city a lot more than that,' said LaFontaine. 'The lack of social infrastructure in this town needs to be addressed and this building has put that and all of our other projects in jeopardy.'
Impact board member and Price city mayor Joe Piccolo was clear concerning his feelings toward the building as well.
'I am happy that this project is going forward. I feel that it will improve safety and be very good for both East Carbon and Sunnyside,' said Piccolo.