By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
The New Albany City Council decided Thursday against borrowing $5.7 million to pave streets this year.
Instead, the council approved a resolution declaring its intention to allocate $2 million in existing Economic Development Income Tax funds for resurfacing and sidewalk projects.
Shane Gibson, an attorney with the city, wrote an amended version to the council resolution that called for a $5.7 million bond to be used to foot a paving campaign.
The council had the choice of voting for the bond measure or replacing it with the amended EDIT resolution, and it chose the latter.
Gibson said the administration will now be able to prepare bid documents and other planning materials related to paving since EDIT has been targeted as the funding mechanism.
Several council members had stated their opposition to borrowing money with cash on hand in the EDIT account that could be tapped instead.
Councilman Greg Phipps sponsored the resolution, and said he had no qualms with removing the bond from the measure.
But he favored passing the EDIT amendment as a way to speed up the process.
“I think it’s imperative that we get started on this very soon,” Phipps said.
The ordinance to actually appropriate the $2 million from EDIT should be on the council’s agenda for a first reading on May 6, Gibson said.
The council will hold a work session next week to prepare suggestions of which roads should be paved.
With most major roads in the city having been resurfaced in recent years, Street Department Commissioner Mickey Thompson said alleys and local streets will likely be the focal points for 2013 paving efforts.
The administration is also planning a major project for Main Street, which Gibson said will push spending on resurfacing in 2013 to more than $3 million.
The Main Street project — which will be unveiled next month during public forums — will be paid for with money the city received from the state when New Albany assumed control of a portion of Ind. 111.
Council may buy tornado sirens
Phipps has discussed the need for more tornado sirens in New Albany during recent council meetings, and Thursday he brought a price estimate before the body.
He said that according to Terry Herthel, executive director of the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency, it would cost $45,783 to install two sirens in the city.
Phipps said Herthel suggested the new sirens be placed at Bicknell Park and the Spring Street fire station if the council elects to purchase the equipment.
According to Phipps, Floyd County bought the sirens that are now in place in New Albany, but he added that doesn’t mean the county is responsible for buying additional tornado warning systems.
Councilman John Gonder said it would be unlikely that the county would pay for the equipment based on its recent funding shortfalls.
However some council members including Kevin Zurschmiede said the county should at least be asked if it will pay for new sirens.
“I don’t think we should have a blanket policy that the county’s broke so we shouldn’t ask them for anything,” he said.
Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti said she had spoken with a Floyd County Commissioner about using 911 funds to make the purchases, but that he said it wasn’t related to emergency dispatch spending.
Council Attorney Matthew Lorch said he would meet with Phipps so they could prepare a letter to send to the county about the matter.
While waiting on the county’s response, Gonder said the council should start the process on its own funding measure for the sirens under the assumption the city will have to foot the purchases.