Pampa City Commissioners approve grant application for downtown project

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John Lee

The City of Pampa Commissioners met on Monday afternoon over Zoom for a regularly-scheduled meeting. Mayor Brad Pingel and Commissioner Karen McLain were not present for the meeting.

During the meeting, the Commissioners approved Resolution No. R20-020, a Resolution by the City Commission authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Development Block Grant Program application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for the Downtown Revitalization Fund and authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to act as the City’s authorized representatives in all matters pertaining to the City’s participation in the Block Grant Program.

Paige Witthar with the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission and City of Pampa Director of Community Services said the item just puts the City in line to apply for a grant.

“We’ve been working on it since February/March of this year and it’s due Sept. 1,” Witthar said. “There are a few key items required in this resolution, but it essentially says that it is for $500,000 and the Mayor and City Manager are able to sign off on documents regarding the application.”

The project covers each side of the north block of Cuyler from Kingsmill to Foster and in front of the Coney Island on Foster. There is a 15 percent match on the grant for $75,000, but Witthar said she believes it would be more in the $90,000 range.

Miller said he and Director of Public Works Gary Turley met with the Downtown Business Association and they were excited about the possibilities from this grant.

Another caveat from this project was the next item approved, which was Resolution No. R20-021, a Resolution by the City Commission, an area of the City contains conditions which are detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare of the community and constitutes a slum/blighted area. 

Miller said while the wording on the resolution sounds bleak, it describes the curbs and sidewalks in the area centered around the project.

Witthar added the resolution is required for the application and since the funds in the grant are from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it has to meet one of their program objectives.

“This program falls within the slum/blighted objectives and eliminating those conditions,” Witthar said. “There must be a resolution from the municipality saying the conditions of the project will meet to eliminate.”

Witthar added the project meets the sidewalks and lighting, not buildings in the area.

Commissioner Matt Rains asked how they selected where to work on the project.

City Manager Shane Stokes said the foot-traffic, condition of the concrete and the ADA (American Disabilities Act) accessibility went into the discussion.

“The condition of the area there on Foster is really bad and the concrete is in really bad shape,” Stokes said. “If we went north on Cuyler or south on Cuyler we would only have enough money to do one side. We are hoping this will only be Phase 1 and this could be a multi-phase project at some point.”

In the tax rate discussion, Stokes said he and Finance Director Robin Bailey got the impression from the last City Commission meeting that the Commissioners wanted to build the budget around .73/$100 valuation.

The tax rate, which will be discussed and proposed on Aug. 24, puts the percentage of fund balance at 24 percent. 

The Commissioners also approved the following items:

• Minutes of the July 27, 2020 Regular Commission Meeting as presented.

• Absence of Commissioner Karen McLain from the July 27, 2020 Regular Commission Meeting.

• Resolution No. R20-019, a Resolution by the City Commission adopting Executive Order GA-28 and GA-29 and extending to Sept. 14, 2020 the City of Pampa’s Declaration of Local Disaster. Stokes said this keeps the City in line with the order from Governor Greg Abbott, including the mask order and limiting group gatherings. Police Chief Lance Richburg noted there hasn’t been any businesses with issues on the mask order and there have not been any citations issued. There also hasn’t been any large crowd issues.

• A three (3) year modified Farm Lease Agreement with Richard and Linda DeVuyst dba Red River Dairy aka DeVuyst Farms for use of Surface Only of Section 53, Block 3, I&GN RR Co, Survey, Gray County, Texas.

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