Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Not A Grant...

At the October 8th Buffalo City Council meeting the Board of Alderman was presented with a proposal for King Coltrin of Great River Associates to write us a grant.  You can view the discussion HERE beginning at time stamp 48:08.

During the discussion I made a motion to table the matter until we had read the grant application. There was no second and the motion died. The council then approved to pursue the grant and pay $600 to have it written, without having seen what the restrictions or requirements would be.  At the meeting I was told by Mr. Coltin to go to MODOT's website and look up "LPA Transportation Enhancement Applications." This is what I found. 2012 Transportation Enhancement Program

The first thing I noticed at the bottom of page four, under the heading "Important Information for Applicant" was that this is not actually a grant. "This program reimburses the project sponsor for costs incurred.  It  is not a grant and does not provide money up front." The city of Buffalo will have to have $300,000 up front to spend and then be reimbursed.

The next thing I saw was, "All projects will go through a competitive bid process for the majority of the construction.  In some cases, a portion of the construction may be done by volunteer or public forces." The city has been able to save a considerable amount of money on the Locust Street project by hiring city employee's to do the work. This has allowed the city to not pay prevailing wage... This is the same idea proposed to be used for future projects... including this one. Any projects we intend to use these funds for will have to be bid out. Yes we may be able to do a portion of the work ourselves but I think this clause rules out doing the entire project "in house."

I haven't read the entire application yet. These are just a few things that jumped out at me as things the council may have wanted to consider before voting to spend $600 of taxpayer money to submit an application... All it would have taken was an email with the link to the information I've provided, or a printout included in our council packet...

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