http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/04/11/woodside-may-ok-415000-in-outside-funds-for-school-routes


Almanac

News - April 11, 2012

Woodside may OK $415,000 in outside funds for school routes

by Dave Boyce

Two matters that would channel some $415,000 in outside funding to Woodside to improve the walking and biking routes to school will come before the Town Council at its 7:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, April 10 at Independence Hall.

The items are on the consent agenda, so the council will approve them without discussion unless someone from the council, the staff or the public asks to have one or more items pulled out for separate discussion.

Such a separate discussion occurred on March 13, when Councilman Tom Shanahan raised philosophical objections to accepting outside money, which led to a spirited back-and-forth among the members.

The consent agenda items are:

• A resolution to allocate $20,000 from the town's road-program fund to improve a well-traveled path and route to school along Canada Road. If the council approves it, the state will add $200,000 in grant money, the staff report says.

• A resolution to spend $39,160 for preliminary engineering work on a project to upgrade two crosswalks across Highway 84 at Woodside Elementary School. (The council voted on March 13 to accept $215,600 from county and federal sources to fund this project.)

The crosswalks' in-road lights have been painted over and scratched, Deputy Town Manager and Town Engineer Paul Nagengast told the Almanac. This upgrade would add solar power, new signs and stripes, re-graded paths, better drainage and new bright lights located where they won't be painted over.

At the March 13 meeting, Councilman Shanahan characterized the $215,600 in funding as "free money" and criticized accepting it on philosophical grounds. The town would probably not spend that much on crosswalks if it were taxing itself, he said, so the town should not be shifting the burden to taxpayers from elsewhere.

Several other council members defended the idea of accepting the money, and when a council majority voted to accept the money, Mr. Shanahan joined them in a 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman Anne Kasten absent.

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