Council discusses projects, grants

By Sarah Pridgeon
Several matters raised during August’s regular meeting of the Sundance City Council were resolved at this month’s session, including an agreement to secure land for the Croell Redi-Mix headquarters access road and an unaddressed nuisance complaint.
The agreement with landowners near the pending Croell Redi-Mix headquarters came to fruition after a period of waiting for a response from the couple’s lawyer. The recommended revisions had been made and the council passed a motion to move forward with the agreement, which will see the city exchange property for the access road for a guarantee to continue providing existing water services.
Council Member Hugh Palmer later commented that he would like to see monthly progress and financial reports on the Croell Redi-Mix project. Though in agreement, Mayor Paul Brooks noted that the contract was written to ensure no costs are passed on to the city and all overruns are paid by the company.
Palmer also asked for an update on the one percent sales tax and questioned whether a special election is still being considered. The mayor replied that he had spoken about it with the other towns and all have agreed to wait for expert guidance.
“The longer we wait, the longer it will be until we can collect money again. If we can get it in May, it will be October before we are collecting; otherwise, it will be 2015,” commented Council Member Sheryl Klocker.
Fire Chief Blair Stugelmeyer approached the council regarding the Workforce Grant implemented in April that will fund new turnout gear for Sundance Fire Department. The grant was prepared by Sundance Survival, owned by Rob and Kristie McNealy.
Unlike other grants, said Stugelmeyer, the Workforce Grant requires proof that the items are paid for and ordered before the grant money is paid. Sundance Survival had requested payment before ordering the items.
Pre-paying is not a legal problem, commented the mayor, but is also not the city’s policy and council approval would be needed for auditing purposes. Council Member Hugh Palmer requested that the issue be tabled to find out more about the type of grant, which Lenz confirmed was possible according to its timeline.
Council Member April Gill, however, was opposed to the request, noting that Sundance Survival is a business and should obtain a loan from the bank. In response to her query as to why the company had been chosen to fulfill the order as well as write the grant, Stugelmeyer explained that Sundance Survival is able to obtain two extra sets of equipment for the same price.
“It’s a conflict of interest, in my opinion,” said Gill, making a motion to not pre-pay for the equipment that the council then passed.
“This is not against the McNealys,” said Mayor Brooks. “It’s just that we have rules and I can assure you the auditor wouldn’t like it.”
No action had been taken in August regarding a nuisance complaint for a property on E. Sewell St to allow the council time to check what had been done to clean it up. Though progress has been made, council members agreed it was very little; Brooks observed that issues such as tall grass and broken windows remain while Klocker wondered if the only steps taken had been to move vehicles.
City Attorney Mark Hughes stated that, under the nuisance ordinance, if the council believes that the property is still a nuisance it can take further action after notifying the owner. A motion was passed to instruct Hughes to move forward.