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City votes to accept $715,000
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Some McMinnville officials braved the early morning hours for a special called session in order to net the city $715,000 in Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to pave streets.
At 7 a.m. Friday, the board voted unanimously to enter into a contract agreement that would satisfy a new state requirement in order for the city to obtain the funds. Attending the meeting were Mayor Jimmy Haley and Aldermen Jimmy Bonner, Ken Smith, Billy Wood and Mike Neal.
The special called session was arranged Tuesday night to allow the mayor to sign the agreement. Without his signature, the city would face losing the funds because it did not meet a deadline set by the state.
STP provides funds to each city and county based on population. Usually, $50,000 to $60,000 is given to the city each year. Because paving stopped in 2000 and only recently began again in the fall of 2012, the money has accrued to over $700,000.
The city has been trying to obtain the funds for more than a year. In 2011, the state informed the city that guidelines for using STP funds would change in 2013. Communities can no longer save the money, as the city had done. Instead, the money must be used in the year it is given.
There are guidelines for using the money. STP funds can only be used on collector streets, which are those that have high traffic volume, such as main roads in a subdivision or a neighborhood, but not streets considered state or federal routes.
Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Alderman Rick Barnes were absent due to scheduling issues.