A string of derailments over the past year, including both July 3 and July 11, just prior to Tuesday night's Hope City Board meeting are spurring urgency and demands for repairs from local industries that depend upon the rail line through Hope.
A string of derailments over the past year, including both July 3 and July 11, just prior to Tuesday night’s Hope City Board meeting are spurring urgency and demands for repairs from local industries that depend upon the rail line through Hope.
The bill, however, could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, and City Manager Catherine Cook told the Hope City Board on Tuesday night that she is hoping a proposed Economic Development grant can be “repurposed” for the repairs.
As a stop-gap measure to a complete rehabilitation, the Hope City Board did approve a waiver of bids Tuesday night in an ordinance seeking to perform a repair, estimated to cost between $18,000 to $20,000. A contractor recommended by Union Pacific, identified as B&P Rail Service, will perform the immediate repairs.
The three primary industrial users of the rail lines in Hope are Hexion, Union Pacific, and New Millennium, and because they had their own concerns about inadequate rail maintenance, they agreed last year to pay the City of Hope an increased rate $40 -per-car maintenance fee from the old $15-per-car fee.
Board member Don Still asked, “Is it that bad out there?”
Still, however, stated his opinion that trains were traveling too fast, and he said, “It has been a problem for a long time,” even asking if some radar detector, similar to what police use, could be placed to track speed of trains coming through.
Cook said her hopes were that a pending EDC grant for $1.68 million could be repurposed for an extensive rehabilitation of the rail lines in Hope.
“We could do a pretty good rehabilitation out there with that kind of money, and it could be considered an economic development purpose for the existing industries and jobs involved,” she said.
Still said, “If you are talking about $20,000 every time we need a repairs, you are talking about some real money now.”
Cook conceded, “We are looking at some pretty big numbers.”
In a related matter to the rails, City Board also heard a report on rail spur engineering, in which a three-member city panel examined various proposals. A proposal from William E. Graham was recommended and approved.
In other Hope City Board news, the board will have a public hearing in front of its August 15 meeting next week on a possible lein on the recently cleared Dox property; the purpose of the lein would be presumedly to recoup some of the $37,000 cost incurred by the City of Hope to tear the building down and remove the debris.
The board also approved a request from Terry Mulholland, who owns four apartments at 2000 East 28th, to tie into city sewer lines for city sewer service. Mulholland’s property is outside the city limits, but apparently not within an logical annexation point.
Although the Board ultimately approved the tie-in, Still lamented “If we keep giving away our city services, then there is no reason for anyone to come into city. We need to really think twice about doing this time and time again.”
Cook conceded that “It was bad public policy,” but City Attorney Joe Short said the property in question was too far out to annex.