Howard, speaking at a regular meeting of the Harlan City Council on Monday night, said the city has already obtained a $500,000 grant secured by Congressman Hal Rogers to begin engineering and architectural work on the project. The grant was included in the final version of the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation Appropriations bill, approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 18.
Howard said he expects the city to receive another $3 million in funding to go toward the construction of the facility to be located off Clover Street near the Harlan Center. The structure is expected to provide up to 175 parking spaces and eventually house a new city hall and police station.
Howard said the city is considering all sources of revenue for the project, including funding from the state's Transportation Cabinet, Administrative Office of the Courts and Homeland Security.
After council member C.D. Morton inquired about what the mayor had in mind for the parking structure, Howard replied he wanted to “carry on” the same architectural design of the Harlan Center. The property where the new parking facility will be is owned by the city and the Harlan Center, he said.
“I'm going to ask for anything I can get, but I've got the assurances that it looks like $3 million,” he said.
Howard said the facility will also offer additional parking for the county's justice center and will be similar to parking projects in Hyden, London and Pikeville.
In other action from Monday's regular meeting of the Harlan City Council:
-- The council met in executive session to discuss matters concerning the city's longtime franchise agreement with Harlan Community Television. Howard informed those at the meeting that he and council member M.G. Smith met with the cable operator's attorney last week regarding a 2005 law that changed operations between cities and their cable providers.
Howard said the city is seeking a five-year agreement with Harlan Community Television, while the cable operator is seeking a 10-year agreement with the city. He said council members agreed in executive session to consult a lawyer who specializes in telecommunications law.
“What the council gave me the authority to do was to call another attorney and send the contracts to him and have him to advise us ... what's in the city's best interest,” he said.
-- Paul Miller of Leo Miller & Associates, reporting for city engineer Leo Miller, said line work for the Sunshine sewer project should be complete next week and paving could begin as early as Wednesday. Phase two of the project, installing a pump station, should be complete by the end of the month, he said.
Howard added that construction on the Grays Knob sewer project is expected to begin Oct. 12. He explained the contractor for Sunshine's sewer project, Ash Mountain of Harlan, will also perform work on the Grays Knob project.
He also reported the city has received correspondence from Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop's office, requesting the city extend sewer lines from Ages to the new detention center in Verda and what will be the nearby Hope Center. The city of Harlan is in the process of extending lines to Ages, a project for which a contract was awarded to Aikens Excavating of Corbin. The county will fund the extension, which Howard said there will be “no problem” with. A change order will be issued for the project, which will also address water runoff problems in the Fairview area, he said.
-- Howard said the council is planning a dedication of the city's playground at Huff Park in honor of the agencies that supported it financially.
-- Bob Yost, manager of the Harlan Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility, said his department is working on a combined sewer overflow near Cumberland Avenue. He said correcting the problem, a result of a joint sewer line and storm drain, could cost approximately $3 million to $5 million.
“There will be some expenses,” he said, adding that it will take a “number of years” to correct the problem.
“We'll keep you updated,” he said.
Yost also reported the pump station at Rio Vista has been repaired after a recent storm and the city's street sweeper is “up and running.”
-- Council member C.D. Morton suggested posting signs or arrows to better direct traffic on Clover and Williams streets near the Harlan Independent Schools. He said traffic at the school is “horrendous” and signs would help with the flow of traffic.
-- Council member Jeff Phillips requested the Harlan Police Department monitor congested parking at Harlan High School. Phillips said drivers are blocking water hydrants and driveways. Chief of Police Danny Caudill said there is “no good solution” to the parking problem and parents or others picking their children up from school should arrive at the school no earlier than 2 p.m. Phillips also inquired about the city's delinquent property taxes. City treasurer Charles Guyn said he would prepare a list to be reviewed at the council's next meeting.
-- The council approved the second reading of a budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. Howard said it is important the city complete ongoing sewer projects and continue efforts to collect revenues owed to the city.
The next regular meeting of the Harlan City Council will be Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Harlan Center.