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City to apply for grant to fund police patrols

October 11, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Huntington City Council members on Tuesday approved applying for a Governor’s Highway Safety Grant, renewing overtime pay for police officers and funding education efforts in schools for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, members of the city’s Administration and Finance Committee moved forward with plans to award a Chicago-based urban planning firm the rights to create a federal revitalization plan for the Fairfield neighborhood. That matter will go before City Council for final approval at its Oct. 22 meeting.

Beau Evans, the city’s traffic safety director, presented council members with details of the renewed Governor’s Highway Safety Grant application for Huntington, which would become effective this month and end in September 2019. Council members agreed to allow Mayor Steve Williams to apply for $767,700 from the grant fund.

The fund goes toward paying overtime for police officers to conduct things such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, which boost police presence in hot-spot crime areas. It would also pay for continuing traffic safety in schools and some day-to-day operations of the city’s Traffic Safety Office, Evans said.

Council member Joyce Clark commended Evans for his past administration of the grant and the positive impact it has on the area.

“It is one of the better grants that comes out of the state to provide safety and education, especially education,” she said.

During a meeting of the city’s Administration and Finance Committee, members agreed to allow Chicago-based firm Camiros Ltd. the right to design the U.S. Housing and Urban Development “Choice Neighborhoods” master plan for the Fairfield neighborhood. Committee members tabled a discussion on the matter during a previous meeting because they wanted more information on why Camiros Ltd. was chosen for the project.

Scott Lemley, director of planning and development, said two firms made bids to complete the master plan, Camiros Ltd. and Huntington-based firm Edward Tucker Architects. Camiros wants $233,000 for the project, while Edward Tucker Architects asked for $365,055.

The funds are available and have been set aside in the budget from the Choice Neighborhoods Grant and no dollars from the general fund would be used toward the master plan.

Some committee members expressed concern about the economic impact of choosing a firm from out of state, which a selection committee had scored higher than Edward Tucker Architects.

Lemley said the ultimate choice came down to pricing, because the maximum amount available for the project is $233,000, which is exactly what Camiros Ltd. asked for. Edward Tucker Architects knew the maximum amount available in the budget but still made a bid that was $132,055 more, he said.

Committee members agreed to move the resolution forward to City Council’s next regular meeting with a favorable recommendation.

Also during the meeting of the Finance Committee, members agreed to forward a resolution to City Council to replace the sidewalk on 10th Avenue between 16th and 20th streets. If approved, the resolution would award $126,895 to Cuc Block and Supply Co., of Huntington, to replace approximately 3,000 feet of sidewalk. The work would also widen the sidewalk to 4 feet, making it handicap accessible, and install eight cuts on each curbside.

Because of Columbus Day on Monday, the City Council meeting was moved to Tuesday.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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