The city of Rockaway Beach is working to continue their rehabilitation of city roadways and are now looking to the Taney County Commissioners for funding assistance.
On Jan. 6, Rockaway Beach Mayor Rex Wood and Rockaway Beach Ward I Alderman Ken Ingram came before the Taney County Commission to make a request for funding assistance that will be used as matching funds for a grant they are preparing to apply for.
Ingram explained that the city is working to apply for a Community Development Block Grant through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. He added that this grant will help the city continue to do road improvement projects.
“One of the good things about our community at this point is we just spent about $30,000 on really, what we would consider and residents consider, good improvements on our town,” said Ingram. “We’ve taken every pothole and repaired every pothole with the understanding that we’re going to have to continue repairing potholes. We (completed) over 52,000 square feet of road improvements where we did what’s called a chip and seal. It’s not a perfect fix, but for some of those folks, who had the roads that they had, it was a tremendous thing. We want to continue down that road, but with the understanding that we have to have the funds to do it.”
Ingram shared that the CDBG is a matching grant and the city of Rockaway Beach will be responsible for providing 10% of the funds.
At the meeting Ingram and Wood said that they would like to request $25,000 from the county.
“Most everyone who has great memories of Rockaway Beach would love to see some of that return,” Ingram said. “We are doing our best as aldermen and as a city staff to be fiscally responsible, to be wise in our decisions and we love our community and we would love your consideration and assistance with funding for roads and that’s why we’re here.”
Ingram said that he was informed that at one point in time the county had funds set aside for road improvements for the communities of Taney County.
“I certainly understand that from a county’s perspective there’s been difficult years. I’ve only been a resident of Rockaway Beach for about three years,” Ingram said. “There is a time that, that stopped. I’m not exactly sure when that was, but it may have been after the financial crisis in 2008, 2010. Obviously each of the communities are very dependent upon your decisions to assist us in those things.”
When asked by the commission, Taney County Road and Bridge Administrator Devin Huff confirmed that several years ago that was the case.
Ingram added that part of receiving the CDBG is being able to show the Missouri Department of Economic Development that the city has been working to make progress on their own.
“For us to have spent $30,000 out of our general operating budget last year was a big step for us. We made that step, made that commitment and in the last couple of years that I’ve been here, the fiscal makeup of our city has improved greatly from what it was just previously,” said Ingram. “That’s what I’m seeing from coming in from the outside. Our goal is to not only improve things, but to be really fiscally responsible.”
Following Ingram’s address to the commission, Western Taney County Commissioner Brandon Williams shared that he’s on board with the idea.
“I don’t have a problem with doing some sort of contingent upon receiving the grant to providing funds,” Williams said. “I don’t want it to open up a can to where all of a sudden everyone’s going to come ask for road and bridge funds, but at the same time its a pretty small task.”
When asked if they have an idea of which roads would receive attention from this grant if the city receives it, Ingram shared that the city has awarded a bid to Toth and Associates who are working to survey the city and compile a list of the worst roads.
Williams said that he feels like before the commission can actually make a motion, he would like to see the list of roads and how much total the project spending will be.
“I would pretty much like to make a motion stating, ‘contingent upon reviewing the CBDG grant for such and such roads a match up to $25,000’ or something along those lines,” said Williams. “That a-way we have a little bit more information to go off of.”
The city of Rockaway Beach is working with the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments and Senior Planner Megan Clark to apply for the CBDG.
In an email, Clark shared that the CDGB has not released the program guides for the 2020 grants yet, but believes the application itself will be due towards the end of May as it usually is. Clark also said that the city will be required to conduct a public hearing during an open public meeting to hear public input from the residents on what streets they would like to see the grant funding used on.
The commission took no formal action on the request for funding assistance.