Commission ordinance will get facelift

PLYMOUTH — The re-working of the city ordinance on the Community Improvement Commission will continue to undergo improvement.
Scheduled for second and third reading at last night’s meeting of the Plymouth Common Council the measure was sent back to the drawing board — of sorts — for City Attorney Nelson Chipman.
Discussion of the ordinance’s language was dissected by the Council and the decision was made to amend the work before hearing a second reading.
The ordinance outlines the purpose of the Commission and the way it decides on the distribution of grant money for improvement projects to city commercial buildings. The Commission makes rulings on grant applications for a city of Plymouth program that will provide a 20 percent match to merchants who seek to make significant improvements to their buildings. The money is interest that is collected on an original sum.
Councilman Mike Delp said he would like to see the ordinance include a cap on the amount that could be awarded to any particular project and suggested an amount of $50,000. He expressed support for the program itself but concern over the city matching 20 percent of a large project saying many could conceivably run into high dollar amounts in the $400,000 to $500,000.
“I don’t know that the city should be involved with a project to that amount,” he said.
Councilman Chuck Ripley requested language in the measure to make cost proposals submitted with the project to be competitive — more than one bid for a project. He also requested a clause for a clear statement of conflict of interest for any project that might involve a member of the Commission in any way.
Another Ripley request was not added to the ordinance — one that would have limited the scope of projects that could be considered. Ripley said that he believed the original intent of the project had been to grant money for façade work and was not convinced that roofing work — that was included in several recent grant projects — was intended to be funded.
Councilman Mark Neidig, Wayne Smith and Don Gardner weighed in that they felt roofing should be allowed inclusion since the roof of a structure was vitally important to its upkeep.
Clerk-Treasurer Toni Hutching reminded the Council that the only money that the Commission could a lot for projects was the interest money generated from the original principal. She also stated that current interest rates made the money available to be granted considerably smaller than in the past.
Jim Vinall, a member of the Commission asked the Council to provide them with the amendments for them to study and requested that they be allowed to add their own input on the process to the Council.
Chipman will re-work the measure and bring it back for Council consideration in its May 9 meeting.