Despite Glitches, Virtual City Council Meeting Proceeds

Rainier City Council overcame technology glitches Monday night and approved a utility relief program to residents but turned down a $100,000 grant to pave Second Street due to altered requirements.

by Marissa Heffernan, The Daily News / April 15, 2020
Shutterstock/mrmohock

(TNS) — Rainier, Wash., City Council overcame technology glitches Monday night and approved a utility relief program to residents and but turned down a $100,000 grant to pave Second Street due to altered requirements.

The council decided to reapply for the grant for use on a different street, because the grant required Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps on Second Street. Adding the ramps would have driven the city’s out-of-pocket cost from $57,000 to $107,000, according to city documents. Instead, the council decided to use $100,000 from the street upgrade budget to repave Second Street without adding ramps. The council also decided to complete repaving of Third and Fourth streets using 2013 grant money or the city funds. The city currently has $270,000 in the street fund.

The council also approved six changes orders for the A Street construction project that result in an overall savings for the city.

Those included using cure in place piping, saving almost $20,000, and accelerating curb laying to make use of expiring grant funding, which cost about $18,000.

For the current two-month billing cycle, the council also approved a utility relief plan for Rainier residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The payments would come from the water fund, which is at roughly $589,000, and the sewer fund, which is at just over $445,400.

Those having trouble paying the utility bill can apply for relief of up to 50% of their bill, up to $300, the council decided, with the option that the rest of the bill be payed off on a six-month payment plan.

Councilman Sloan Nelson abstained from the vote, as he owns several restaurants. The city will track the amount given out, in case the government offers a repayment option later on.

Councilwoman Jenna Weaver proposed a 100% forgiveness option for businesses, saying they had been hit hard, but other council members did not agree.

Councilman James Bradfield said he preferred to wait to offer relief to businesses until the federal and state governments decided what they would offer small businesses.

©2020 The Daily News, Longview, Wash. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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