A proposal by City Councilman Adam Tabelski to spend $92,000 in funds set aside for community development on community development failed to win much support from the rest of the City Council at its Monday conference meeting.
Tabelski proposed taking the money originally intended for Vibrant Batavia, which the council scuttled two weeks ago, on a recent joint city, county, school district and Genesee County Economic Development Center initiative called Pathway to Prosperity.
BP2, as it's known, will take a portion of fees paid in PILOT programs (payment in lieu of taxes) by property owners with economic development projects and use it to help mitigate environment issues at brownfield properties in the city. The chicken-and-egg problem is BP2 has no money until the first new PILOT is approved, and the city's brownfield area properties need to clean up as projects come on line.
Tabelski thought $92,000 might best be used to jump start some brownfield redevelopment.
Council members had other thoughts about what to do with the money, from building a spray park on the Southside, to payment toward the new police station, to just letting it sit in the general fund.
"We need to start thinking of the kids on the south side of the city," said Councilwoman Rosemary Christian. "We need something for the child. We're always thinking of things other than the children in our community. They're our future leaders who will up her someday making these decisions."
Tabelski countered that today's children will need tomorrow's jobs.
Some council members said they thought Tabelski's timing is off, that it was only a meeting ago that Vibrant Batavia was killed off and perhaps there should be more time taken before deciding what to do with the money.
"As for timing, the reason to bring this up now is that as time goes by, the default action is that nothing happens," Tabelski said. "I'm trying to address this in a timely manner."
Molino said a spray park on the Southside would likely cost more than $92,000, with planning, engineering, possible land acquisition and the purchase of equipment. Briggs and Christian promised to push for a spray park in the 2017 budget.