After twice rejecting a plea for $100,000 to pave dusty roads, Spirit Lake voters are going to pay anyway.
The City Council voted Tuesday to reach into city coffers for the $100,000 to match a $500,000 state grant. If the city hadn’t come up with the cash soon, it stood to lose the state grant.
“We had to make a decision, yea or nay,” said Mayor Bob Street. “The (state) Department of Commerce was getting a little antsy. It’s going to tap our resources a little, but we feel we’re still safe.”
He said the grant is badly needed. The money will pay for paving nearly two miles of gravel streets, plus a system of dry wells and drainage areas for storm water.
“Perhaps we’re sticking our neck out, but if we turn down this grant after already getting it, it’s like slamming the door in our own face,” said the mayor, who replaced Mayor Paul Korman five weeks ago.
In February, 124 residents voted for the so-called general obligation bond to match the state grant. Only 103 voted against the bond, but state law required that two-thirds of voters approve it.
The city tried again in May, receiving 84 ‘yes’ and 69 ‘no’ votes.
“Certain citizens said, ‘Somebody over here’s getting their street paved. Why can’t I get my street paved?”’ Street said.
He said the areas to be paved were selected because they have storm-water drainage problems or because they’re expected to carry increased traffic. The city is considering paving parts of 10th, Massachusetts and Main streets plus several short stretches around the city park and civic center.
Storm water is a problem, Street said, because the water ends up in the lake. The water picks up oil and silt, he said.
“Around the park and on New Hampshire (street), you can see big washouts,” he said. “What starts up here will end up in the lake.”
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