DDA Continues to Grapple With Downtown Clean-Up

~ by Bob Volpe ~

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board is still trying to decide whether or not to purchase their own industrial power washer to solve the road grit and filth problem that plagues main street store fronts.

Since the city council once again tabled the prospect of chipping in to help the DDA pay for the estimated $10,000 to hire a contractor to power wash store fronts, street lamps, and public sidewalks, the DDA is considering going solo to purchase the necessary equipment for themselves.

At last week’s city council meeting councilman Val Carr said he has turned up some information that suggests CDOT may provide relief in some form to help with the issue. Carr informed council that the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting with CDOT. With that information, council decided to table any decision as to whether or not to dip into the city’s emergence fund to help pay for the cleanup.

At a special meeting on June 20,, the DDA  considered a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) agreement for a new hotel and to discuss the possibility of purchasing a trailer mounted industrial power washing unit. DDA treasurer Tanner Coy addressed the board, noting that the city has been out cleaning with their street sweeper. He said, “A lot of physical debris is being cleaned up, which means we’re getting close to the point of being able to pressure wash, if we have the funds.”

Coy has been soliciting funds, in the form of pledges from business owners whose businesses are affected in the DDA district. Unfortunately, the pledges and available funds in the DDA budget are not close to the amount needed to hire a contractor to do the job. Coy said, “Between what the DDA has contributed and pledges from private property owners, we are at $4,250.”

Coy then began his pitch to have the DDA purchase its own equipment. “I’ve been researching equipment and what it might take for this community to own the equipment needed to pressure wash both private property and public property that complies with water quality regulations. It seems to me that the best solution for our community might be to acquire the equipment.”

The equipment Coy has been researching is a self-contained unit that not only pressure washes, but also captures the effluent, so that it can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, as is required by clean water regulations. The cost of this equipment is estimated at $25,000.

While the purchase of the equipment is not in the current DDA budget, Coy suggested the DDA could take out a loan to acquire it.

Coy then asked the board if he should continue pursuing the idea or not.

Board chairperson Merry Jo Larsen asked for comment from the board. Elijah  Murphy suggested the idea be brought up to the Main Street. group to look at the possibility of securing a grant for a portion of the purchase and that the DDA could then match those funds.

Board vice-chairman Noel Sawyer said, “Things to consider in your research are warranty, maintenance, storage on it, who is going to operate it, scheduling with the city, insurance, registration. There are a lot of details we have to iron out. There is a possibility that any one of those may cause the deal to fall through.”

Murphy agreed, “The long term expenses is definitely something to consider because that is where you can get into trouble, buying it and not realizing it costs a lot to keep up, however, I think it will save us a lot in the long run.”

Larsen expressed her desire to pursue the acquisition, “I would like to say that I think we should pursue that. I would like to bring it up to the next board meeting, when all the board is here. I think this is a way the DDA can help the downtown businesses.”