McMinnville officials will be meeting at 7 a.m. Friday morning, July 26, for a special called session in an effort to net the city $715,000 in Surface Transportation Program funds to pave streets.
Public Works director Bill Brock came before Streets and Sanitation Committee members on Tuesday prior to the 7 p.m. board meeting asking the mayor to sign a required agreement in an effort to get the funds.
“We are having to do something new, which I’ve never had to do before, and that’s provide a signed standard form of agreement between the owner and the professional services,” said Brock. “I need the mayor’s signature on these or our process with the state goes no further.”
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 agreement was not on the agenda for July 23 and it was considered under “any other business to come before the committee.”
Brock says the agreement came after the packets pertaining to the July 23 agenda were sent to officials.
“These came out about two days after the packets went out so I didn’t have time to get this on the agenda,” said Brock.
Alderman Billy Wood made a motion giving authorization for the mayor to sign the agreement, which Alderman Jimmy Bonner seconded. The measure passed unanimously by Wood, Bonner and Alderman Rick Barnes.
However, legality stopped the attempt. According to city attorney Tim Pirtle, the board must approve contracts entered into by the city of McMinnville.
“You will need the board’s approval on contracts,” said Pirtle.
The mayor can only sign agreements that have been approved by the board. Any signature of the mayor without board approval is not legally binding.
“Well, there goes our money,” said Brock.
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 fund 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.” Collector streets 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.
A special called meeting was suggested. With conflicting schedules and at least four board members needed for a quorum, 7 a.m. on Friday morning was selected.