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Citizens speak out about city project plans
Chastain, Ryle.jpg
Chastain, Ryle

An online survey was undertaken in late 2021 asking residents where they wished to see McMinnville officials spend taxpayer dollars when it comes to future capital improvement projects. 

Taking the survey were 435 participants. The top two spots were paving and sidewalks: 120 selected paving as their top pick and 86 selected sidewalks. 

“This is what the public gave us,” said Mayor Ryle Chastain of the survey results. “When you go on there and read the comments that were under these results, they say paving and sidewalks. Paving and sidewalks. I think it would be a slap in the face to the community and basically, we aren’t even listening to them, if we don’t go above and beyond what we would normally do in a year for paving and sidewalks to make it look like we’re doing something.”

Perception is reality. 

“If they think we’re not listening to them, I think that looks unfavorable on us as the governing body of this community,” Chastain continued. “That would be my priorities going into this budget – to do whatever we can as far as the pay for employees and to start doing some community improvements and specifically, the ones the community asked for. I understand that we can’t pave every street in one year and we can’t build sidewalks or rehab sidewalks everywhere in the whole city, but we’ve got to do something.”

Currently proposed within the 2022-23 fiscal year budget is $318,000 for paving and $100,000 for sidewalks. 

Alderman Stacey Harvey urged the need to budget for inflation, if the objective is for citizens to see that improvements are being made.

“All of the input cost for any of this infrastructure has doubled,” Harvey said. “In the last 18 months it has doubled. If we were looking at $250,000 or $300,000 in paving, then our citizens are going to see 50% less work if you use the same amount of money. You’re going to be seen as non-responsive. We have to spend the money, but they have to be able to see the results. If we want to show a march towards being responsive, then $300,000 in paving is not going to get it. It’s going to be $750,000 or nobody is going to see it.” 

A proposed Jungle Jym replacement project is $280,000 in 2022-23, $210,000 in 2023-24 and $$210,000 in 2024-25. 

Alderman Zach Sutton, voiced his excitement for the Jungle Jym project, but suggested holding off and using the $280,000 for paving. 

Additionally, $1 million is being considered for the Downtown Economic Revitalization Project phase three, with that amount being splint into the next two fiscal year budgets.  

This discussion took place during a Finance Committee meeting to consider a budget for fiscal year 2022-23. No votes were taken and no decisions made.