Road grant money use causing friction
Differences about the use of a yearly $1,000,000 grant by the county to the city for maintenance of roadways continues to cause friction between both governing bodies.
At last week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board voted to hold the remaining $2 million owed the city in escrow until an acceptable agreement is reached about the rebuilding of 92A, commonly known as Goodland Road.
The payment for $500,000 which was owed the end of March is now delinquent, and the county will be using those funds and the remaining $1.5 million owed to the city as a bargaining chip to require the city to act.
The county asserts that the city should be using those funds to re-engineer the short stretch of roadway which leads into Goodland and create an elevated roadway to ensure water flows underneath … not flooding the road. Some in Goodland say the flooding creates a health and safety issue, and might delay emergency responses.
Mike Barbush, a former President of the Goodland Civic Association has been a dogged proponent of seeing the roadway problem resolved.
“This is a safety and health issue for the residents of Goodland,” Barbush said at recent city council and commissioner’s meetings.
In December of 2014, the council scheduled a joint meeting with the county commissioners to discuss a number of issues. The county chose to commit the lion’s share of the meeting to a discussion of the 92-A issue. The city had already committed to going ahead with a hydrological study as a starting point, and that has now been done.
Councilman Larry Honig attempted to bring up the possibility of turning the roadway back to the county, however commissioners were reluctant to discuss the issue at that time.
At the December 2015 council meeting, Honig presented a “white paper” to council outlining his reasoning for return of 92-A to the county’s jurisdiction. His white paper has also become a part of an executive summary to commissioners by Nick Casalanguida, the deputy county manager. As a result of that executive summary, commissioners chose at their last meeting to hold the monies owed to the city in abeyance, pending an acceptable resolution.
City council will discuss this latest development - the county’s escrowing of the funds owed to the city - as well as Honig’s proposal at its next scheduled meeting on June 6 in council chambers beginning at 5:30 p.m.