BELLAIRE - It's not always a positive to be debt free.
The Village of Bellaire learned that recently after learning that its paving grant application was turned down because, among other reasons, the village wasn't carrying enough debt.
Councilman Jim Williams relayed that information to those in attendance during a Streets and Property Committee meeting.
"Our application was for $465,000 and we got turned down," Williams said. "We lost points because of not having any debt. Obviously, we can re-apply next year."
The village has more a little more than $100,000 it can use for paving because of a stockpile of county permissive tax that is set aside for such work. That money cannot be used to pave alleys but is to fund the paving of main roadways.
Committee members discussed some of the options they may have and whether or not to pave some sections with the permissive money left over, or to hold on to it and utilize it as part of another grant-seeking package.
"The question is do we want to consider spending some of this money we have and try to get several areas and streets paved, somewhere," Councilman Jerry Fisher asked.
Sections of Guernsey Street appear to the main priority, no matter which plan of attack is implemented.
Williams explained that is where the heavy traffic is and with the heavy trucks coming from the harbor, it's taking the most abuse.
"It's a mess up there," Village Administrator Dan Marling noted.
Marling explained an engineer, likely Jeff Vaughn from Vaughn, Coast and Vaughn, will need to spec out the requirements to see what type of surface will need to be applied in order to better stand up to the heavy use.
Williams stated there is a 279-foot section on N. Guernsey, along with another 150-foot section that will require attention, if nothing else. There is also the area around 26th St.
"In talking with Jeff Vaughn, we should see if we can take that $100,000 we have and parlay it into grants," Marling said. "That may be the better thing to do."
Marling, who only recently was named the village administrator for Bellaire, wants to sit down with department supervisors and council and work on getting a plan in place on what needs done in the village.
He wants to get a 1, 3 and 5-year capital improvements plan together, that way the village has a plan in place of what needs done, when it will likely get done and the hierarchy of needs.
Prior to the grant's submission, Williams, Fisher and Councilwoman Lou Ann Bennett, who is also a member of the committee, visited various areas of the village to try and form a need-to-do list in terms of what streets needed the most attention.
They also solicited advice and opinions from the village's police department, as its officers are always out and about and know the condition of the town's roadways better than anyone.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org