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Council: No to parking lot project

Princeton agrees to new police vehicles

PRINCETON — The Princeton City Council is not going forward at this time with a parking lot improvement project at the Amtrak train depot station.

At Monday’s meeting, the council discussed the possible parking lot project as a way for Vissering Construction, the company which has built the city’s new water treatment plant, to offset some balances for the company’s liquidated damages/late fees on the city’s water treatment plant project.

Commissioner Ray Mabry said though he realizes the train depot is a community asset and a gateway for people coming into the city, he is still concerned about the condition of the city streets and the water sanitary/storm sewer systems. He wondered if the city should hold off on the parking lot project and see that money better used for other more needed projects, Mabry said.

Commissioner Joel Quiram agreed, saying he thinks the streets and sanitary/storm sewer system projects are a greater priority. The city could just ask for payment of the late fees in cash and then use that money toward more needed projects, he said.

In his comments, Mayor Keith Cain said that’s why the paving of the depot parking lot keeps getting put off each year because there are more pressing needs for that money in the streets and water departments. The city has done some work at the parking lot, giving it a better base, which has made the lot a bit better than before, he said.

After further discussion, Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson said he will tell Vissering Construction the parking lot project is no longer an option and ask if there are other projects which the company would consider to help cover their liquidated damages costs.

In other business, the council approved the 2014-15 fiscal year budget, which includes the purchase of eight new vehicles for the police department.

Monday’s budget action follows a lengthy discussion at the council’s April 7 meeting on the pros and cons of purchasing eight police vehicles at one time, as well as the need for the recommended two pick-ups and two SUVs. The purchases would be financed throughout the next three years.

Quiram said it’s too bad the vehicles all need to be replaced in one year, but he now agrees they do. Hopefully, the city can get on a rotation cycle after this year. His recommendation would be to buy vehicles with solid paint jobs, either all black or all white, rather than having two colors on each vehicle, which he said could save taxpayers several thousand dollars.

The 2014-15 fiscal year budget has designated $203,347 for the purchase of four cars, two SUVs and two Dodge four-wheel drive pick-up trucks for the police department. The vehicles will be bought from Prescott Brothers in Princeton and will replace the police department’s current seven cars and one SUV, which will be used as trade-ins.

Without further discussion, the council approved the FY 2014-15 budget as presented.

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