Replacing houses, enforcing demonstration laws among requirements to receive block grant for repair project
It may seem silly, but the Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday agreed to replace any low or moderate-income housing demolished as part of the breakwater repairs it plans to undertake.
Aldermen also agreed to enforce any state, federal or local laws governing non-violent or civil rights demonstrations in the city “even though the chance of having these demonstrations is slim,” City Administrator Mark Grams admitted.
“Basically, what this says is we won’t violate anybody’s rights who are demonstrating legally and lawfully.”
Aldermen also approved a citizen participation plan following a public hearing on the project Tuesday.
“We’ve had plenty of public input in the past (on the breakwater project),” he said, noting not just citizens but also state and federal officials have been involved in the discussion.
It was all necessary as part of the city’s application for a community development block grant to help finance the breakwater repairs, Grams said.
“Obviously, nobody’s being relocated,” he said. “However, we still need to have a relocation plan.”
The city is seeking funding from both the Community Development Block Grant program for public facilities and the Recreations Boating Facilities grant program to help pay for improvements to the cap on the west end of the deteriorating breakwater.
Aldermen on Tuesday agreed to pay the city’s consultant, Foth Infrastructure and Environment, $13,500 for its work on the two grant applications.
“When you’re looking at getting $1 million in grant money, $13,000 is a small price,” Grams said.
The city’s chances for the recreational boating funds are good, he said.
“It sounds like we might be the only community in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan applying,” he said.
The city previously agreed to pay Foth $15,000 for its work on an application for the Department of Natural Resources stewardship grant, and $15,000 for its work researching grant programs and meeting with agencies to pave the way for funding.
“This is what we’re paying for — the expertise to shepherd these through the process,” Mayor Tom Mlada said.
Grams said the city expects to apply for at least two more grants, adding the cost to write these applications is likely to be less because staff members will do some of the work.
The city has committed to spending $1 million for improvements on the west end of the breakwater — a commitment made to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the structure, would spend the $950,000 it has allocated for the project to placing armor stone along 1,000 feet on the easternmost portion of the breakwater.
The structure is weakest on the east end, city officials said, and the armor stone will help ensure the structure will last.
City officials asked the Army Corps to use its funds for armor stone because there are virtually no grants available for this work. There are grants available to the city for other breakwater improvements.
Funds spent by the Army Corps on the breakwater will be used as matching funds for any grants received by the city, minimizing the cost to local property owners, officials said.
Grams said work on the breakwater will be done over two years, adding that the city can pay for its share of the work over three years.