The city is getting close to a decision about Black Street.
Monday, city staff presented their report on the project. Many politicians said they have already made up their minds on the issue.
While most voiced support for the project, they couldn’t let construction start until adjustments are made.
Specifically, they want affected citizens to receive a good cost estimate, more time and better information about the project.
The city wants to replace the existing sewer and water systems, pave the streets, put in sidewalks and do other things. The residents would shoulder a portion of the cost through local improvement charges.
The “and do other things” part is what residents are balking at, worried this is going to cost them more than they can afford.
Currently, neither residents or politicians have any idea what the final product could look like.
And they have no clear estimate on how much it’s going to cost.
Consulting with contractors for eac unique home cannot happen until after the project is approved, which all of council acknowledged is laid out in municipal legislation.
“It’s ass-backwards,” said Coun. Doug Graham, who added that the confusion of the whole process – with the mixups in notification and voting – has been unacceptable.
Unless the project’s scope was amended to allow more time, Coun. Ranj Pillai said he would vote against it.
His main concern revolves around communication.
“People feel they’re not listened to,” he said. “I remember what I ran on (to be elected), one of my main things was communication and so, if I support this L.I.C., I’m going against the reason why I ran.”
While clear in his support for the project, the details and budget for the project must be nailed down before they can move forward, said Pillai.
However, because it’s in the city’s capital budget, putting an open-ended extension on the project could cause more uncertainty and confusion than what exists, said Mayor Bev Buckway.
“We screwed it up and they got twice as much consultation as any other project in town,” said Coun. Florence Roberts, who supports the project.
“If we put this off any longer, prices will go up,” she adds.
City council will vote on the project next week.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at firstname.lastname@example.org