By Carolyn Barbre
There were a lot of happy campers, although some looking a bit bushed, at the Lindsay City Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 22.
It seemed that representatives from the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) were there to personally congratulate the city on getting the most money from TCAG through CMAQ/TEA grants awarded on the previous day. They did offer numerous congratulations, but they were actually present to discuss the 2004 Tulare County Regional Transportation Plan which will appear in next week's Gazette.
As was covered in last week's Gazette, the city got $2,413,308 for downtown upgrades. This will be used for sidewalks, trees, alleyways, murals, planters, street lights and anything else deemed to enhance transportation.
But there is more. The city also received $1.25 million for clean air projects from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality fund. Of that, $70,000 will go to buy nine GEM electric cars for Lindsay Unified School District; $246,000 will go for a non-polluting street sweeper and some city air quality friendly city trucks; $264,000 will go for hybrid city cars; $292,000 will be for the two roundabouts, that are also considered as addressing air quality because they save on emissions; and $372,000 will go for 15 hybrid police vehicles.
Transportation Engineer Ted Smalley kidded the council and staff about their "willingness to convert to hybrids." The city will be picking up all of the above vehicles at 12 percent of their retail value in costs to the city.
City Manager Scot Townsend said at the end of the council meeting that June 21 was a very important day. "Some say we're lucky, but luck is when preparedness meets opportunity," he said. Townsend noted that Councilmember Steve Velasquez was active in TCAG in the past and Mayor pro Tem Pam Kimball is representing the city at this time on the TCAG Board.
He recalled that the city was awarded $2.5 million for curbs and gutters through the last round of TCAG grants. Added to this round he said, "That's a $6 million investment into this community and it happened because many things were in place. We were in the right place at the right time, ready!"
Kimball said, "TCAG is a great organization that thinks regionally instead of politically." She said when the vote came there were no problems. She was amazed at how quickly Lindsay's applications were passed.
Community Development Department Manager Diane Bucaroff, who was a major player in the grant applications, said "Lindsay is becoming a model city," in regard to dealing with air pollution issues.