Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 13, 2014

City council votes to apply for grant, home rule pilot program

PRINCETON — Princeton City Council members passed motions Monday to submit a new Small Cities Block Grant application to fund drainage improvements on Stafford Drive and to submit an application for a home rule pilot program.

In the new state/HUD Small Cities Block Grant application, the city will seek $700,000 to address persistent drainage and flooding problems along Stafford Drive, said Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson. The new application will be submitted immediately, and the city hopes to hear a reply by August.

Parts of Stafford Drive such as the intersections at Bee Street and Trent Street often experience high-water problems whenever heavy rain falls in Mercer County. Previous applications for state funding have been turned down.

This new application will focus more on the Stafford Drive area, said Cori Edwards of the Region I Planning & Development Council. Past efforts to get a block grant have included other areas besides Stafford Drive.

“Hopefully, this will make it more competitive, being in a low-income area serving the Princeton Towers,” she said.

The Hugh I. Shott Foundation Jr., has contributed $250,000 to the Stafford Drive project, Wilson said. A resolution to submit the application passed unanimously.

Nobody asked to speak during a public hearing concerning the grant application.

In other business, the city council voted unanimously to pass on second reading of an ordinance authorizing the city to submit an application to the state for the home rule pilot program. State law allows cities in the home rule program to identify regulations that hinder their ability to perform municipal duties.

Under home rule, the city of Princeton could lease or sell city properties without going out to bid, said City Manager Elke Doom. It could also help the city accept bids from all vendors; however, there would still be limits on what cities could do in relation to state law.

The city council also had first reading of an ordinance amending the refuse ordinance and collection fees. The city finance and administration committee has authorized the city attorney to draft an ordinance to increase the monthly garbage collection fee by $1 in each of the three consecutive fiscal years: July 1, $16 monthly; July 1, 2015, $17 monthly; and July 1, 2016, $18 monthly. The minimum charge for special collection service would be increased from $15 to $20 per load.

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