Ten dollars is not enough to charge the city of Punta Gorda for 6,916 feet of water and sewer lines, Commissioner Christopher Constance told his fellow board members Tuesday.

Not when the county’s Economic Development Office secured the $800,000 grant to pay for it, he said.

“We paid sweat equity,” he said. “How is the city paying us back? If we’re not going to get that now, we can lease it to them for a dollar a year. When they start operations and they’re getting in revenue, they pay us back until we’ve received the value of that pipeline.”

Constance agreed to postpone what was an expected rubber stamp signature on the transfer of ownership of roadway from the county to the city for $10.

The pipelines were paid for by a Florida Job Growth Infrastructure grant to promote economic development in the area around the Punta Gorda Airport. A 12-inch water line runs under one side of Piper Road from Henry Street to U.S. 17. An 8-inch sewer line runs along the other side. The idea was to install the lines while the road was already dug up for construction.

“This was discussed for a long time,” Commissioner Joe Tiseo said, who questioned Constance’s move. “I thought it was in concert with the overall good of the system, and to enhance the road when the ditch was open, so to speak.”

“We’re awaiting the future conveyance to the utility provider for future maintenance,” said Punta Gorda communications manager Melissa Reichart.

Asked if the city had expected to pay for the pipe, she said, “We’re anticipating that this would happen in the way that it usually does when a utility project is put in, that the ownership of that is turned over to maintenance.”

Commission Chairman Ken Doherty advised his board to wait.

“It would be prudent to table this for two weeks,” he said. “Let’s just refresh our memories as to what we all did, and what we thought we agreed to previously.”

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(1) comment

Timo

This sounds like the County wants to launder the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund money. The funds are provided for a project, the project authority then pays the grant money back to the County and County then uses the laundered grant money for other purposes.

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