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Road diet tabled

The Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee tabled review of the cost participation and maintenance agreement with the North Dakota Department of Transportation associated with the $3.1 million Urban Grant awarded Jamestown in July.

The agreement would have committed the city to paying a 10 percent local share of the $3.1 million grant or about $310,000. Jamestown was one of six North Dakota cities to receive the grants with work planned for 2019 and 2020.

Mayor Dwaine Heinrich questioned Tuesday whether the city can change parts of the grant. The city applied for the grant in January. The application included a lane diet to reduce the number of lanes on First Avenue from two in each direction to one in each direction with a center turning lane. The scope of the project also included bumpouts at the ends of the block, extending the sidewalk the width of the parking spaces and reducing the amount of street pedestrians have to travel to cross the street.

Heinrich said he had talked to DOT officials.

"There are some questions about costs and whether we can change things after the fact, things like that," he said. "If we approve this and they start spending money and we decide not to go ahead with the project we would have to reimburse them for any money spent."

City Administrator Sarah Hellekson said she had discussed the possibility of changes with DOT officials.

"They did tell us when we asked if we could make changes to the scope (of the project), that if we made changes to the scope that was approved by the City Council the project would be dropped," she said. "That if we made changes to the scope of the project after the contract was signed, the city would be responsible for all the DOT costs."

The scope of the project is the set of parameters defining what the project is intended to accomplish.

Councilman David Steele said the sidewalk bumpouts could cause snow removal problems while Heinrich has previously said he wanted to try the lane diet as a temporary change to the traffic flow before making it permanent.

Jamestown City Councilman Steve Brubakken said the city needed to decide if it intended to decline the grant, it should do so soon so the funds could possibly be distributed to another city.

The topic will be discussed at the Oct. 23 Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee meeting for a final decision at the Oct. 1 City Council meeting.

The Finance and Legal Committee also agreed to set the license fee for attaching radio antennas to city-owned water towers at $1,500 per year beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The current fee is $100 per year and was found to be well below what other communities charge in a recent survey of cities.