By Lillie Bush-Reves
The Mount Vernon City Council selected Gary Traylor and Associates and KSA Engineers to work for the city in proposals for use of just over $670,000 in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021.
Traylor and Associates will write and administer the grant, while KSA Engineers will assist with the technical details needed for the project.
City Administrator Tina Rose told the council that they expect the project to center around the replacement of two of the mixing aeration units at the wastewater treatment plant. These are in constant use and aid in separation of solids, addition of oxygen to the breaking down of materials, and encourages the growth of aerobic bacteria to further aid in the process.
The city received about $85,000 in 2021 to begin their process, and in 2022 must formally qualify the project. This will include both financial and engineering documentation.
The Council adopted a resolution in support of their application for a walking trail at the City Lake Park. Traylor and Associates personnel are preparing this application. The city has letters from the MV-EDC, FC Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street Alliance boards.
A request to approve funding favorably granted by the Mount Vernon Economic Development (EDC) Corporation board last month was tabled. The action was taken on recommendation from the City’s Attorney Stan Lowry. The application from Robin Wallace DBA as Sheers Gift and Salon, was returned to the EDC to collect additional details and review.
Councilwoman Sherelyn Roberson questioned why such equipment was considered for Chapter 380 support. She expressed concerns that the connection with health matters could open liability issues. She also noted there was no clause to assure recouping of city funds before the sale of the equipment should it be unsuccessful.
The Council came to a consensus recommendation to staff not to do a “free building permit” offer to promote new construction. In January of 2020 and 2021, the city had provided no cost building permits for new construction to the first five applicants of the year.
Building has been increasing both by individuals as well as contractor speculation homes. Councilman Harold Cason expressed the view of the council. “If building was stagnant, it might be something we should consider again,” said Cason.
The new sound system for the council chambers at City Hall was installed this past week and in use for the first time at the Monday night meeting.