Stanton leaders talk about future infrastructure grant

By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 9:53 am on Monday, March 20, 2017

A potential Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Grant could mean improvements to sewer access on Lincoln Street between the alley behind Main Street and Day Street in Stanton. City commissioners tabled discussion of the grant at Thursday’s meeting. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

STANTON — The city of Stanton is hoping to take another shot at an Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

The city applied for the grant last year in hopes of making sewer repairs on Lincoln Street. However, the grant was not approved.

City Manager Elizabeth Pynaert recommended the city reapply for the grant this year.

“We do not know why we did not receive it last year,” Pynaert told city commissioners during Thursday’s meeting. “The chances (for receiving the grant) are the same as last year, just a little bit better because there is more money available this year.”

Pynaert noted that for the last cycle of grant applicants, the municipalities that were awarded grant money provided engineering plans to accompany their grants. Stanton did not do this.

This year, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality changed grant requirements, meaning municipalities must provide plans with applications. The change means an increase in price for Prein & Newhof, a Grand Rapids-based civil engineering firm, to fill out the grant.

Lincoln Street south of Day Street would receive sewer and sidewalk improvements if Stanton city commissioners apply for and are awarded an Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Grant. City commissioners tabled discussion of the grant at Thursday’s meeting.

Stanton paid Prein & Newhof $2,500 last year. This year the price increased to $5,000. According to Pynaert, doubling the price will cover the firm’s cost to complete engineering calculations,plans and specifications.

Prein & Newhof broke down the cost to $1,500 to review the application from last year and $3,500 to draw up engineering plans.

Other requirements for the grant include municipalities updating and adopting a six-year capital improvement plan, including the proposed projects and a resolution committing matching funds for a minimum of 10 percent.

“Ten percent is guaranteeing that at the very, very minimum we would commit matching funds of $50,000, when I have not seen a project list or what it would do,” City Commissioner Karl Yoder noted.

According to Department of Public Works Director Jamie Blum, the project on Lincoln Street would span from the alley north of Main Street to Day Road.

“(The sewer lines) are not even mains. They are 2- to 4-inch lines,” Blum said. There are no manholes or sewer aces. Some of the lines are made of old paper and tar.”

Blum said the grant money would also cover sidewalk and street repairs along the stretch of Lincoln Street.

The grant application deadline is April 7. Pynaert recommended city commissioners make a motion on the grant during Thursday’s meeting to allow Prein & Newhof ample time to complete the grant.

But, city commissioners had questions about the total cost of the six-year capital improvement plan ($1.2 to $1.3 million, including matching funds); whether the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget accounted for the project (no, but it could be put into the 2017-2018 budget); and where the money would come from (water and street funds).

Commissioner Jane Basom noted the 10 percent match Yoder referenced was for a total project cost of over $1 million.

“Is that due all in one year?” she asked. “I would like to see the numbers. How much do we have to match?”

“I don’t think we can say we’re doing our job properly if we don’t have all the information in front of us,” Commissioner Krista Johnson added.

Pynaert said it would be possible to push off a vote until the March 28 meeting, but it would put Prein & Newhof “in a bind” to complete the application in 10 days. According to Pynaert, the firm has already started working on the engineering plans “in good faith.”

Without a set cost in front of them, city commissioners unanimously voted to table the ICE grant discussion until the March 28 meeting.

Stanton City Commission meetings take place at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 225 S. Camburn St.

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