Spring City will build sidewalks without grant and save money in the long run
SPRING CITY— At their recent meeting last Thursday, Spring City Council discussed a plan to make the walk to school safer for elementary-age students.
The renovations would comprise three new sets of sidewalks surrounding Spring City Elementary School.
A hot point of discussion in the meeting was how to pay for the project. The city council intended to seek funding through the state-funded Safe Routes to School Project. This project provides state-funded grant money for towns in Utah needing to create sidewalks around schools in their area. The grant would pay 94 percent of costs as long as the city comes up with a 6 percent matching contribution to the project funding.
“At first, we said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” Spring City Mayor Jack Monnett said. “Surely, the high rate of grant money was the best way to do the job.”
But the council’s enthusiasm about the grant lessened when Councilwoman Kim Stewart showed the council a detailed breakdown of the costs associated and how much Spring City would be liable to pay.
To meet all the requirements of the grant, Spring City would have some government hoops to jump through, including a survey, hiring a consulting firm, drawing up plans and holding a competitive bid.
For the requirements to be met, preliminary work alone would cost upwards of $40,000 to complete. Satisfying these requirements plus construction would cost over $250,000 by project completion, bringing the match price to $14,000 for the city.
“We couldn’t believe the dollars that mounted up for three sets of sidewalks,” Monnett said. “It seemed to be a case of people lining up at the government trough looking for money.”
In response to the intimidating costs involved with the grant process, Stewart proposed a new idea, saying, “For the same money, we could do it ourselves.”
Spring City, she says, can contract local cement finishers such as Spring City resident Shad Hardy to pour the cement. Stewart also said doing the project themselves would give them better control over material costs.
The project at a city-level is predicted to cost a few thousand dollars more in city funds than accepting the grant, but Stewart said she believes that this solution is a long-term money-saver for the city and also keeps the city from feeding funds into what she calls a “bloated” government program.
After hearing the details of Stewart’s proposal, the council made a motion to reject the grant and continue with possible self-funding routes to construct the sidewalks. The motion passed by a 4-1 vote.