Discussion continues on Adams Avenue sidewalk upgrades

Council to transfer $1,128,466.96 from reserve fund to general fund if ordinances pass second readings

The Cordova City Council unanimously approved on first readings on March 1 two ordinances regarding the transfer of thousands of dollars from the city’s general reserve fund into the general fund.

The first ordinance approves the transfer of $876,000 from the city’s general reserve fund to the general fund, with $860,000 earmarked for debt service and $16,000 to be applied to the government capital projects fund for the purchase of a new blood storage refrigerator at Cordova Community Medical Center.

The second ordinance authorizes an additional transfer of $252,466.96 from the general reserve fund. Of that total, $117,000 will be transferred to the general fund to cover a UPS battery backup system for CCMC, and $135,466.96 will be transferred to the general fund as a grant match to state funds for the Adams Avenue sidewalk project.

Both ordinances were amended to include council’s intent to repay the general reserve fund by Dec. 31, 2018. The council has scheduled a second reading to vote on again March 15.

“I’d like to see the money flow back into the reserve fund,” said Councilman Tom Bailer. “I will support the first reading. We can figure out how it is going to come back and if we can’t figure out how it will come back, we can drop (the amendment to repay the general reserve fund), on the second reading,” he said.

Both ordinances will immediately go into effect if passed during the second readings March 15, unless otherwise noted.

The Adams Avenue sidewalk project, which will provide ADA-compliant sidewalks on Adams Avenue from Second Street to Main Street, is still up for debate.

“I would hate for us to rush into something and to go over cost,” City Manager Alan Lanning said during the discussion. “This is not an emergency and it is quite a process. We have to send the state the money first before (the grant money will be released). Nothing bad is going to happen if we take our time on this. We’re not going to lose the grant,” he said.

A $411,000 grant from the Alaska Department of Transportation was awarded to Cordova in 2016, with a total cost for upgrades coming in at $541,870. The city’s matching funds were eliminated from the 2017 city operating budget due to a shortfall in the city operating funds.

Now that the funds are being allocated for this project through the transfer from the reserve fund, city officials are working quickly to establish the project’s timeline.

City Planner Samantha Greenwood said the city does not yet have a state project agreement.

“We have the engineer’s drawings and the engineer’s estimate,” Greenwood said. “We have to submit the entire match amount and the bid documents together, and we have to have a project agreement for the state. We don’t have that.”

The council directed Greenwood to talk to state officials and come back with a project timeline.

Bailer said if the city is going to go ahead with the Adams Avenue upgrades, the time to do it is now, as a paving company will already be in Cordova taking on other projects this summer, and it will save the city money to take advantage of that.

“(Costs) are going to go up if we wait. We’ll have to pay to bring another paver and crew into town. If the paver is already going to be here, it’s kind of the same as when the sun shines in Cordova, we go out the road. Don’t wait,” Bailer said.

The ordinances will be further addressed and presented for second readings, and council’s votes, during the March 15 council meeting.

Five-year lease approved to CRWSP

A resolution was passed authorizing Lanning to enter a five-year lease with the Copper River Watershed Project, for a portion of land on Lot 10A, Block 2 in the South Fill Development Area. CRWSP will use the land for a mobile recycling station.

Lease fees are $100, annually.

“The two structures we want to put on the lot during phase one are what I have named a supersack shack and a Conex, for storage and shipping purposes,” said Shae Bowman, CRWSP Operations Manager, in an email to the Cordova Times.

“The supersack shack would be a wooden structure that has wooden supports inside to support the sacks. We plan to build it on concrete footings that could be moved if need be. The super sacks are the big white sacks the plastics are collected in at the plastic recycling events. We will start off by collecting No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, and hopefully expand to other material as we purchase the needed equipment. Ideally, the city recycling containers will remain on the same lot, so that all recycling can be done at one location,” Bowman wrote.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at cgibbens-stimson@thecordovatimes.com or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.