By Sarah Lang The Lebanon Reporter
---- — Three city street projects awaiting state funding will be in the running for a 2015 bid date after the Lebanon City Council publicly committed its share of the funding at Monday’s meeting.
Tom Kouns, Lebanon’s project and grant administrator, gave the council an update on these three projects — phase one of the Indianapolis Avenue project, phase three of the Gateway Trail project, and the Hattie B. Stokes Safe Routes to School project. To get the best price, the city planned to send all three out to bid at the same time. Things were going “just swimmingly,” Kouns said, when the Indiana Department of Transportation ran into some financial issues, forcing them to push back many projects from around the state.
Lebanon’s three projects were set to go to bid in January of 2014, and the city was financially prepared for its share of the cost, but INDOT pushed the date back by one year, to January 2015. Once INDOT went through the numbers again, 29 of the original 36 state projects were pushed back again to 2016, Kouns said. But Lebanon was promised a 2015 date as long as the council would reaffirm its financial commitment by July 17.
The council approved the request unanimously. The city will fund approximately $404,280 of the Indianapolis Avenue project, $27,222 of the Gateway Trail project, and $164,515 of the Safe Routes to School project. Kouns said the numbers are flexible and could be changed some when the projects actually go out for bid.
The city already has the funds ready for the Gateway Trail and Safe Routes to School projects, Kouns added.
The council also approved a change to the city’s code regarding electric wiring at the meeting. At the last meeting, in June, local electrician David Hine addressed the council, requesting the city electric code be changed from a minimum requirement of 12-gauge wire to allow 14-gauge wire. A 14-gauge wire is not as heavy as a 12-gauge, and a 12-gauge can carry a heavier electric load. Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis said the request was a good compromise, and the council approved the change with Councilman John Copeland dissenting.
Also Monday, at the Lebanon Board of Works meeting, Lebanon Police Asst. Chief Dave Scott said the department mailed out 21 letters last week to new applicants. The applicants will have to take a written test and go through a physical agility test, and then LPD will have a new applicant pool. The department’s two newest hires, Justin Knox and Austin Scott, were sworn in July 3.
Lebanon Fire Chief Jason Lee said the Fourth of July was not as busy as last year — thankfully — due to the cooler weather. The department made just a few rescue runs throughout the week, he said. LFD’s newest hire, Matt Young, completed his first shift on July 4. Lewis thanked Lee for how the department handled the parade accident where 14-year-old Cameron Wilson was run over by a float.
Lebanon Parks Director John Messenger also thanked the department heads for all their help during the Fourth festivities. Three LPD officers were on duty at Lebanon Memorial Park at all times, he said, and that helped out a lot. No incidents were reported. Messenger also asked residents interested in a perennial flower swap to take photos of their perennials now, while they are in bloom. In the fall, he plans to hold a swap where people can exchange flowers.
“Hopefully that will work out, and the parks could even get a few extra perennials for our beds,” he said.