STAMBAUGH TOWNSHIP—At its March 7 meeting, the Stambaugh Township Board of Trustees gave the Iron County Board of Commissioners its written commitment for $40,000 for the Heritage Bike Trail project.
County Board Chair Wayne Wales was at the Township Board meeting, telling the board it needed to make a decision “tonight,” as the County Board was holding a special meeting on Thursday, March 8, to decide whether to sign or reject the project grant.
“We’re at a point right now, the government will pull this money,” said Wales, noting that the grant proposal has been under so much discussion a decision had to be made.
Wales said he was hopeful that the original $1.5 million project could be revised down to $1.2 million by using the old road bid, but the county can’t hire an engineering firm to determine the project until this grant agreement is signed.
“What we’re concerned about, if the bids come in 0 to 10 percent over, then the county is responsible to pick that up. We’re looking at $120,000,” said Wales. “If it’s 10 percent or higher, then we have the option to reject this grant.”
It all comes down to whether the Township Board was willing to make a written agreement to financially assist the project if the bids are over in that 0 to 10 percent range.
He needed a written commitment, he said, to assist with that possible overrun, because once the project is under way, the county cannot legally come back to the township asking for financial assistance. However, he said, if the project comes in around that estimated $1.2 million, the matching portions from the county, township and city of Gaastra won’t be needed.
“We now have to stand by the grant as it was written,” Wales told the board. “The big hold up, the county is willing to take some risk, but we can’t take on the $120,000. The county was never committed to the Heritage Trail in the beginning.”
If the county has to reject the grant, Wales noted, “We’ll never see a bike trail again. You can kiss the bike trail goodbye… If (the project) comes in with bids under $1.2 million, then we’re all safe; 10 percent or over, it’s a killer.”
Township Trustee George Brunswick asked Wales if the project goes over $120,000, what would be the township’s portion of that amount.
“According to Gene (Supervisor Eugene Pellizzaro), we might have $20,000 to $30,000. Is that enough?”
Brunswick also noted that he’s had individuals questioning what the bike trail when there are so many potholes and has tried to explain that the grant funds are from a different funding source.
Trustee Kevin Isaacson agreed that the bike trail was important for the community and made the motion for the township to commit $40,000 to any overrun on the bids, in order to get the project moving forward.
“And hopefully, we won’t have to touch of dime of this,” Wales told the board.
In other business, the board:
--set Monday, March 19, for a budget meeting at the Township Hall at 6 p.m.;
--set Wednesday, March 21, for an important wellhead protection meeting at 6 p.m. at the Township Hall;
--set Wednesday, March 28, for the annual meeting at 7 p.m.
--re-appointed Pellizzaro to another term on the Windsor Authority Board;
--re-appointed Maggie Scheffer to the West Iron District Library Board;
--adopted a resolution supporting the city of Iron River’s application for Nelson Field ADA accessibility grant.