Over the protest of the Woods Cross mayor, $1.6 million in federal grant money was awarded to eight Davis County cities Wednesday for civic improvement projects.
The federal Community Development Block Grant funds were allocated by a committee of mayors from the Davis County Council of Governments.Woods Cross Mayor David H. Wright Jr. appeared miffed that his city's request for $400,000 to clean up a junkyard in the city was turned down. He cast the single vote against the appropriations.
"I felt the city's needs in trying to clean up this junkyard, a change in the middle of our city, should carry more weight than some of these projects that are being funded," said Wright.
"I would think cleaning up this site would rate higher than money for a firetruck or park improvements," the mayor said. "I thought we had an excellent project, the state officials involved told us this is just the type of project this grant money is supposed to go for, and yet we got nothing. I feel like I've let the city down," Wright said.
Sunset Mayor Norman Sant, who served on the COG committee that evaluated funding requests, told Wright he is sympathetic. The committee "really wrestled with this one, but it just didn't add up in the end," Sant said, explaining the evaluation system the committee employed to rank the requests.
Sixteen criteria were used to rank the applications, with points awarded in each category, Sant said. Projects such as water and sewer lines rank high, Sant said, as well as projects with some funding provided by the cities.
Woods Cross has done little or nothing on its own to clean up the site, Sant said, which counted against it in the ratings.
"I agree, some of the ratings are judgmental," Sant said. "I also agree the site is an eyesore. We went down there and looked at it. But the city has offered no funds of its own to help on the project, you've passed no ordinances to try and control it, and it's not a project that can be done in increments.
"Those things all counted against you," Sant explained to the disgruntled Wright. "We saw it as a city trying to use federal funds to buy out a private company, move it off the site and then bring in someone else. And there isn't much in the ranking criteria to support that."
Five projects, including the Woods Cross junkyard cleanup, were not funded at all.
Centerville asked for $217,000 for park and flood control improvement projects; Fruit Heights requested $609,000 to build a new community center and make park improvements; Clearfield also asked for $362,000 to replace a waterline on 1700 South; and Clinton's request for $156,000 to rebuild a storm drain holding pond was turned down.
Eleven cities, in addition to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, submitted funding requests totaling $4.4 million for this year's CDBG grants. There was $1,656,242 in grant money available.
For the first time in five years, the COG members did not divert any of the CDBG funds into the county's economic development program. A portion of the grant money in past years was put into the county's revolving loan fund to help existing businesses expand and attract new ones.
In its meeting in December, the COG members voted not to put any more CDBG funds into the program, which has made $1.9 million in loans over the last five years.
South Weber $417,000 Sewer system
Regional Council $44,700
Clearfield $200,000 waterline
West Point $200,000 New waterline
Farmington $200,000 Storm drain system
Bountiful $200,000 Ladder truck
North Salt Lake $200,000 Main Park
Kaysville $100,000 Storm drain
Clinton $94,542 Sidewalk/curb