Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

January 6, 2013

OUR VIEW: City must stick to word on grant projects

The issue: Logansport is set to receive more than $600,000 in grant money to address roads and crosswalks near a school and to study potentially contaminated properties around town.

Our view: While we commend the city for working hard toward obtaining these grants, we were grateful to hear they will be proper stewards of city funds and make sure neither grant goes over budget.

In the middle of last year, the Washington Business Journal reported that six Defense Department modernization projects were over budget by a combined $8 billion. Eight billion dollars. That’s the same amount of money the Southern Stock Exchange is reportedly buying the New York Stock Exchange for in a deal made in December.

Years ago and overseas in Australia, the beautiful Sydney Opera House — arguably the city’s signature symbol recognized around the world — was originally set to cost about $7 million in 1957. The budget for that project was blown by 14 times the estimate.

Project proposals are visions and getting the projects funded are dreams. But going over budget can be a nightmare.

This week, Logansport is set to accept a more than $246,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation to build sidewalks and crosswalks around Fairview Elementary. City Council members at a finance meeting Thursday vowed to stay within the budget of the award.

Furthermore, the city received $330,000 of a more than $600,000 grant to study Brownfield properties, or properties with potential for hazardous materials, throughout Logansport. On Monday, council members will consider — and likely approve barring any blindside surprise — creating a fund for each of these pools of money.

First off, kudos to the previous administration who began the Brownfield process and the current administration for following through with the project. Honestly, $330,000 is nothing to blink at. It was through great determination that Logansport received it. And hats off to Community Development Director Chris Armstrong who helped spearhead efforts to obtain the Fairview Elementary Safe Routes to School grant and beginning to make her mark on the city in her role.

But as the start of work for both projects appears around the corner, each and every player in these projects — from contractors and their workers to councilmen and their constituents — need to hear the words spoken by veteran Councilman Jeremy Ashcraft resonate in their heads.

“If the bids come in high, we do what we can with what we got,” he said at Thursday’s finance meeting.

This council painstakingly bounced back and forth during 2013 budget talks to make sure it was not overspending or over-committing itself in the first budget of the Republican-dominated council. We hope it does the same with grants it receives.

We’re happy that the city received these grants and are ready to get things started. We’ll be happier when the receipts come in and the council takes Ashcraft’s advice.

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