Cape council to consider options for UEP
City council should have a clearer sense of how to move forward with the stalled Utilities Expansion Project by mid February.
City staff is scheduled to deliver a litany of options for council to study by then.
But both staff and council members were quick to point out that mid-February only marks the next step in formulating a plan. It doesn’t mean bulldozers will be rolling or dirt will be turned.
Deciding which section of the project to restart, double checking design plans, deciding what construction method to use, putting the job or jobs out for a public bid process; those are just some of the steps that need to be taken before the project is once again rolling.
“We’re not starting the UEP, we’re putting together the plan so we can start it,” Councilmember Marty McClain said. “We don’t know what it’s going to cost or how we’re going to get there. At this point, assume nothing.”
McClain said the city will have to be mindful of those who the project could negatively impact and could look to Housing and Urban Development grants or other federal monies to help those in need.
Utilities Director Jeff Pearson said that city staff is preparing the options for council with the best interests of citizens in mind.
Pearson said those options should be available by Feb. 15 for city council and would be in outline form based on staff expertise.
Pearson said there’s likely opportunities to save money by examining existing design plans, a process that would eliminate any “unknowns.”
“We are going to try to recommend what we believe is in the best interest for the community and the ratepayers,” Pearson added.
Past councils have buckled to public pressure and outcry when it came to the UEP.
Getting the project moving is crucial, according to Councilmember Rana Erbrick. But so is keeping it going once in motion.
“We have to have the resolve to keep moving forward,” she said.
Previous Committee of the Whole meetings became a parade of sales pitches and recycled information, according to Erbrick.
The time has come to come to an understanding, formulate a course of action and restart the project, or cancel the workshop meetings altogether, she said.
“I’m ready to get down to the nitty gritty and make a plan,” Erbrick added.