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County's special service district plows through funding requests

Sun Advocate reporter

A local artist paints a landscape in Helper during last years arts festival. District officials are looking for ways to aid in this years event.

The Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District considered funding requests for several summertime projects and events Monday.

Sunnyside appeared twice on the June 2 agenda with requests for additional funding for the Little League concession stand and aid for Community Daze. East Carbon's mayor was at the meeting to hear about funds for a walkway and a Helper councilman was awaiting news on assistance for the town's arts festival.

The concession stand was tackled first and thoroughly reviewed by the board after the matter was presented by a Sunnyside councilmember.

"The main structure is almost finished but we hit a snag and the mayor said to stop the work," said Councilman Mike Marquez.

The glitch that brought the project to a halt was a 24 percent hike in construction costs.

The city's first estimate was $73,811 and the district granted $80,000 to cover contigencies.

However, boardmembers learned Monday that the original plans had not been engineered. And when the plans were redone, the requirements changed.

Contractor Matt Willson from Willson Concrete was on hand to explain the changes. The main difference was the snow load.

The original plans were designed for Price's field and Sunnyside's snow load is much higher, said Willson .

"How were you able to bid the job without engineered plans?" asked Bill Krompel, district boardmember. "When we approved this, we assumed the plans were approved."

The new plans brought the total to finish the concession stand project to $91,582.

Sunnyside also asked if the district would be willing to grant an additional $12,000 for a 3,000-square foot concrete apron around the stand.

Boardmembers indicated the district would only fund what was in the original request and approved raising the total to cover the increased engineering costs.

Willson had stepped out of the room after the motion was made to increase the monies, but he returned later to announce that he would donate a small section of concrete.

"I appreciate that you approved the change and I will put in a concrete area, so they can at least have a place for tables," said Willson. "I will absorb all the costs for it."

East Carbon also walked away from the June 2 meeting with funding approval.

Mayor Orlando LaFontaine originally approached the district with a request for $75,000 for a walking trail at the April 1 board meeting.

Boardmembers asked the mayor to gather a firm recent bid and a plan for long-term maintenance of the proposed walkway.

LaFontaine told the special service district board at Monday's meeting that Nielson Construction's $286,394 bid still stood and the members moved to approve the city's request.

The 10-foot walkway from East Carbon to Sunnyside is a collaborative effort between the city, state parks and East Carbon Development Corporation.

"This will give the elderly a safe place to walk and will keep the kids off the streets when they are walking around town," said LaFontaine.

On May 5, Helper Councilmember P.J. Jensen approached the board and requested $25,000 to help fund the town's arts festival.

Members were supportive of the arts festival, but determined that funds from the district weren't really earmarked for events. The request was tabled to look into using money from the restaurant tax for the event instead.

Commissioner Mike Milovich, who sits on the restaurant tax advisory board, attended Monday's meeting.

"I don't have any problem funding this," said Milovich. "But we have been giving you money every year and we have asked every year for financials from the festival and we've yet to see one."

Jensen said he would gather the past years' final tallies and submit the information for review.

Sunnyside's Community Daze request for $3,000 to help cover costs for the rodeo fell into the same category as the arts festival and appeared to have received tentative approval.

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