|Price city recorder Joanne Lessar and Mayor Joe Piccolo sign the necessary paperwork to accept federal grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. Price and Helper received federal revenues from the USDA for use by the local cities' police departments.|
Two cities in Carbon County received grants last week from the United States Department of Agriculture totaling more than $250,000.
Annually, the USDA awards grants in excess of $100 million for rural development.
Of the total amount, approximately 75 percent goes toward housing projects with the balance going to grants for rural communities.
The police department in Price received two grants for $100,000 each.
One federal grant will be used to renovate the facility in north Price which the city plans to use for a police department.
The city plans to remodel the former U.S. Bureau of Land Management offices located at about 900 North between 700 East and 900 East in Price.
Price has had the former BLM buildings in the city's possession for more than two years.
Adjoining properties are held by the federal government, the state, the Carbon County Sheriff's Posse and nine private land owners.
Primary funding for the renovation of the facility came from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board.
A grant for $450,000 from the CIB will pay for the renovation of many of the outbuildings at the facility and for some of the renovation of the main building where offices will be located.
Price Police Chief Aleck Shilaos explained that the city had applied for the CIB funds before the city law enforcement department had looked at renovating the office.
After Shilaos and other city officials determined that the location and facilities would work for an upgraded police department, the city sought other funding to pay for the additional work that would be necessary to complete the renovations.
In addition to converting the building to usable office space, the Price mayor and council plan to install a criminal evidence lab, storage facilities and a fiber optics communications line to connect with city offices.
The next $100 million in federal grant revenues awarded to the Price police department are earmarked for the purchase of two patrol vehicles, law enforcement weapons, evidence lockers and a traffic control speed monitor.
Price will match the funds from the USDA with $74,000 in state funding and $54,000 from the city's coffers.
Shilaos explained that the police department's expenditures were not able to be met under the current budget for the city.
The Price police chief pointed out that the mayor and city councilmembers had decided to focus more of the city's current budget on the provision of employee benefits than in previous years. As a result, the capital outlay to the various departments was reduced.
A third grant from the USDA will go to Helper's police department.
Helper received $55,000 from the USDA, which local officials will match with $20,000 from the city's current budget and the anticipated sale of old vehicles as well as equipment.
In addition, more than $45,000 will come from state community impact board funding.
Helper Police Chief George Zamantakis explained that the city needs to replace four of the law enforcement department's vehicles.
"Without the grant, Helper can't do things like this," said Zamantakis. "This is a huge benefit to us."
Helper officials appeared last Friday before the CIB board in Price.
The board members initially showed some hesitancy about funding the request from Helper for police cars.
Normally, the CIB does not fund police cars, citing that the vehicles are considered consumables. Rather, the board more typically funds purchases of emergency vehicles with a longer life, such as ambulances and fire trucks.
However, as Helper presented its proposal to the board, that precedence was overlooked.
Helper cited the fact that it is one of the primary entities involved in the county's hazardous materials team. In addition, the city explained that the money from the CIB is not even half of the amount that the city needs for the total project.
With other funding coming from the city and the USDA, the CIB granted the request. The board noted that this funding is an exception to the rule and that the police force's participation in the county HAZMAT team and the city's efforts to match funds from alternate sources were factors that outweighed the precedence.