City eyes grants for projects
Several grants came under discussion at Monday’s Russellville City Council meeting, with several council members airing concerns.
The first grant discussed was an update to the application form for a grant for the Russellville Municipal Airport to add lights to the runway.
The council had previously approved applying for a grant to repave the runway, but former airport manager Harry Mattox said it was recommended to add lights in the grant.
“They thought it would be wise to go ahead and add new lights to the runway since in the future the funding might not be available,” Mattox said.
Councilman David Palmer said he had an issue with the pricing previously provided to the council to repave the runway and wondered what other issues there were in the estimate.
“I had a real problem with what they had in their estimate,” Palmer said. “I don’t think it’s even close to what it ought to be. I don’t have an issue with funding the airport, I just have an issue with these numbers.”
The total price of the project is $2.4 million, with Russellville putting up 5 percent of the cost. The city had previously approved $100,000 going toward the project for repaving, but adding the lights to the runway would cost the city an additional $20,000.
“The last time they were here, I asked for an explanation on this estimate, and they never got back to me,” Palmer said. “This estimate may be spot on, but I don’t think the last one was.”
Palmer said what engineering firms do is base their fees on the total cost of the estimate.
“if the application is approved, it goes in as written,” Palmer said. “If that is approved, and the cost ends up being twice what they needed, then that affects our match.”
Despite reservations about the bid estimate, the council approved the addition of the lighting after city attorney Danny McDowell said once the grant application goes through, the city can always reject the bid.
Mattox said he would contact the company that priced repairs for the airport and ensure they contact Palmer. The city council agreed to look more into the bid cost.
The next grant the council agreed to apply for was for the Rebuild Alabama Grant, which is a total of $10 million split among groups in Alabama with a max amount of $250,000.
Last year the council approved for the max amount of $250,000 on two roads, Clay Avenue and Madison Avenue.
The grant was not approved last year, and Palmer said he recommended applying for only one road and agreeing to match some of the cost.
“I feel like doing that would increase our chances of getting something substantially,” Palmer said.
Palmer said grants like this typically provide 80 percent, with the city putting up 20 percent of cost. Palmer said this was the route he recommended.
The bid to repair Clay Avenue behind Russellville High School and widen it for the school buses was $197,000, and it cost approximately $100,000 to repair Madison Avenue.
The council eventually unanimously decided to submit two different applications for the grant, one for each road, with a promise of a 20 percent match in hopes that increases the likelihood of receiving the grants.