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Engineer suggests money for splash-pad parking

The new splash pad at Carpenter Park is scheduled to open this summer. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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After discussion among the Roswell City Council last week of just how much money to hold in a reserve fund for fiscal year 2022, one city official offered a suggestion Monday of what to do with funds if a smaller amount was set aside.

In Monday afternoon’s Infrastructure Committee meeting, City Engineer Louis Najar proposed a parking lot at Carpenter Park and doubling the amount of money for resurfacing residential streets.

The state requires cities to budget only one month’s expenses as reserve. The city placed three months’ of expenses in reserve last year in the uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact on revenue. The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2022 proposes four months of reserve, or about $9.4 million.

Councilors Juan Oropesa, George Peterson and Margaret Kennard said at a special council meeting last Thursday at least part of that proposed reserve could be used for city services such as roads, helping families with admission costs to the Spring River Zoo and Roswell Museum and Art Center, or paying down city debt.

The vote on the resolution was 5-2 but failed because it needed at least six votes — the majority of the governing body — to pass. Three councilors were absent for the vote.

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Najar said he was making the suggestion for city councilors to possibly introduce as an amendment when it meets again at 5 p.m. Thursday to address the budget resolution.

Najar, speaking at the end of Monday’s committee meeting, said it seemed councilors were comfortable with a three-month reserve, which would be about $7 million.

A new splash pad at Carpenter Park is nearing completion, but only street parking is available. Najar showed a rough plan for two parking lots at the 1.5-acre park, 300 E. Buena Vista, and estimated it would cost $200,000 including sidewalks and ramps.

Both parking areas would be accessed from Monroe Street with the larger lot to the south of the splash pad and a smaller parking area just to the north of the splash pad.

Najar also suggested increasing funds for residential streets.

The proposed budget would increase the roads fund overall by $6.3 million and includes $500,000 specifically for residential streets.

“We already have $500,000 in the budget for what we’re calling residential micro-surfacing. How about giving Streets and Engineering another $500,000, make it an even $1 million for the residential streets? Five wards, $200,000 per ward,” Najar said.

Councilor Jacob Roebuck, the committee chair, asked about also including improvements to the tennis courts in Cahoon Park.

Najar said the city should wait until it has a financial agreement worked out with the Roswell Tennis Association before determining what work will be done there.

Also at Monday’s meeting, committee members voted unanimously to give their recommendation to a new policy on use of fire hydrant meters and to forward the policy to the Legal Committee. The committee also unanimously gave its recommendation to a request for proposals to create a pool of contractors for tree removal, disposal and trimming services. That item will go to the full city council’s consent agenda at its June 10 meeting.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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