The Cache County Council of Governments held its first meeting of the year this week to begin the process of allocating funds raised by the countywide sales tax for local transportation projects.
“I have been very impressed with the different mayors all over the county that have worked together to be responsible in spending these funds,” said Mayor Jeff Young of Richmond. “There has been a lot of dialogue and interaction and the funds have been spread out all over the valley, both north and south, and so it has had a very positive impact for a lot of communities.”
The Council of Governments, or COG, is made up of mayors from all the communities in the county and the county executive. The body was formed after county voters elected in 2007 to establish a countywide .25 percent sales tax to fund transportation improvements.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Young was selected as the council’s new chair. Mayor John Drew of Providence was selected as the vice chair.
According to Drew, the council has about $5 million dollars to allocate to transportation projects this year.
Drew also said a few changes were made to the requirements for cities and towns who are applying for these funds.
Larger cities, which he said basically includes all the municipalities from Smithfield to Hyrum, will need to have at least 90 percent of the engineering work done on projects they’re requesting funds for.
“We want to make sure that the projects that are awarded through the COG group are projects that are far enough along that they can be accomplished,” Young said. “As a whole, we want to make sure that we don’t award projects that have unforeseen things come up that would stop the project or would tie up funds for years without them being used.”
Another change, Young said, is that the council approved the county hiring an employee to oversee the administrative side of the process.
County Executive Craig Buttars said in the past the COG money set aside for administrative expenses has gone to offsetting the COG work done by county employees. Now, the county could put those funds toward hiring a full-time employee who would spend most of their time working on the COG process.
“I would say 75 percent of his time would filled with managing and working with the COG. And then any time that he may have left in addition to what the COG needs, he could also be doing a little bit of work for the county and filling in some gaps that the county has there,” Buttars said.
Over the next few months, municipalities throughout the valley will begin applying for funds from the council. On Oct. 10 the council will meet again to view presentations by project applicants.