The Atrium sidewalks are back in the headlines over at the Havre Daily “News”. The article in tonight’s paper said that the council gave “final approval to a plan to reconstruct sidewalks around the Atrium Mall in downtown Havre.” They went on to report as fact that the city approved a $19,000 grant under the Montana Community Transportation Enhancement Program (CTEP) and that the mall owners agreed to match the grant.
Something is terribly amiss with this story. I may not be the sharpest mathematician in town but $19,000 plus $19,000 equals $38,000 and even a guy like me knows that is not enough cash to do sidewalks around a whole city block. Back in January of 2011 the Corrector had a story about this very same project and the council voted to expend $148,000 of their CTEP funds for this project and the mall owners were to contribute approximately another additional $20,000 to the project.
Either the cost of concrete has gotten considerably cheaper after another 15 months of the Obama recession or the local “news” paper is deliberately trying to mislead the taxpayers. This private property project was slated to drain our CTEP funding at a total project cost of over $168,000. Why the big difference in reported numbers? Either the Havre Daily has a dang poor reporter or the council is trying to sweep this huge taxpayer donation to private property owners under the rug.