Albany City Council adopted the 2012-13 fiscal year budget and heard of the possibility for grant funding to assist in upgrading older utility projects at its regular meeting last Tuesday, June 5 with five of six members present.
The council, on a motion by Frankie Stockton, approved second and final reading of the city’s just under $3.8 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year that takes affect in July. The total budget in estimated receipts and expenditures is $3,722,722 and does include a small salary increase for city employees, according to Mayor Nicky Smith.
The total in the general budget is $948,400. Also, there is $4,000 set aside in miscellaneous that will apparently be used to help fund the Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce annual fireworks show July 4th as well as the same $10,000 allotment to the Rec/Park Board.
As always, the majority of the budget takes in the water utilities budget, which is a little over $2.3 million, or almost two-thirds of the total fiscal year allotment.
David Bowles of Monarch Engineers, during his monthly progress report update, informed the council of a possible ARC (Appalachian Region Commission) grant the city may be in line for and an 80/20 match. The grant amount could be upwards to $400,000 and used on utility projects, for example, repairing or replacing some old lift stations.
Should the city apply for and be awarded the full amount for utility projects, the city would be responsible for one-fifth of the total, or around $80,000 with the remaining 80 percent in grant money that would have to be paid back. Bowles indicated there may be ways the city could come up with its 20 percent match.
The engineer reported that section two of the 127 Bypass utility relocation project is now about half-way complete and bids have been accepted on the third phase of the utility line relocation which will take the project to its completion southward to the Tennessee state line. Bowles estimated the total utility relocation for all phases should be complete by the end of the year.
Jay Stockton then complimented the council for its work in helping get a turning lane put in at the Nolan Subdivision area at the Dollar General Market location. He said that although the turning lane hadn’t fixed all of the traffic congestion problems in that portion of the city, it had helped tremendously.
The council, on a motion by Tony Delk, voted to amend the current 2011-12 fiscal year budget, totaling $552,377.65.
Among the amendments were grant funds for the Blue Grass Stockyards water line project in the amount of $120,000 and $61,793 for a project from Foothills to Hwy. 90. The remaining funds dealt with money received for various phases of the utility relocation and Duvall Valley water projects.
On a motion by councilman Steve Lawson, they voted to accept the annual Municipal Aid Cooperative contract and resolution with the Transportation Cabinet in the amount of $32,819 in funds to be used for street repairs.
The council also decided to withhold a three percent amount of the aforementioned grant as “emergency funds.” The state allows this amount to be withheld from the original amount allocated but offers municipalities the opportunity to apply for emergency, non-payback grant funds in the event of an emergency street repair situation.
The council once again discussed possible ways to fund walking trails or sidewalk areas north of town to around the schools and on Hwy. 738 leading to the Albany Manor apartments, with council member Tonya Thrasher noting several pedestrians use those roads and it creates a traffic hazard in those areas.
Councilman Delk, a leading advocate in getting sidewalks in those areas, suggested getting estimates for the work and possibly even borrowing the money at low interest to have it done, if feasible.
The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for July 3 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the general public.