Mobile City Councilman John Williams finally got an answer March 5 to the question he has been asking the cityâ€™s administration since April 2012.
Williams has been inquiring about left over funds from various projects and although he was told there was no money left, he found out in February all the projects still had a positive balance.
During the Feb. 5 City Council meeting, Williams modified his initial request about available money left over from District 4 projects.
"Iâ€™m asking this out in the public, but I want to amend my request,â€ť he said. "I want information only on four remaining balances. Those balances I want are for Mims Park, Matthews Park, which I gave to help out District 5; a District 4 sidewalk project and then Cypress Shoresâ€™ dredging.â€ť
Mayor Sam Jones told Williams after designated funds are inactive for three years they automatically go into the capital reserve under state statute. Williams said of the four projects, three have been active within the time frame and should have money left.
Jones had also said earlier that the accounts had been "zeroed out,â€ť but after looking into the four specific projects, that proved to be untrue for two projects.
Jones told Williams at the March 5 council meeting that the Cypress Shores project indeed has $40,000 remaining from the $60,000 put into it, according to documents provided by the city. Jones also told him the Mims Park project has $14,186.55 of the original $20,000 devoted to it.
The District 4 sidewalk project actually went to fund the Mims Park project, according to the city.
"Councilman Williams transferred funds to (the District 4 sidewalk) project in 2009 and then transferred these funds to Mims Park,â€ť said Barbara Drummond, city spokeswoman.
Matthews Park is listed as a closed project and having a zero balance. But Williams says there is still money there, as well.
"I originally had $50,000 in Maitre Park. Then, Maitre received money from (Community Block Development Grant),â€ť Williams said. CBDG money can only be used for low-to-moderate income level areas. So Williams used the original $50,000 at Maitre Park to help another district.
"I gave the money for Maitre to Matthews park, which is in Reggie Copelandâ€™s district, because it needed two scoreboards for a regional tournament,â€ť he said. "That money was never authorized for anything else and I know the two scoreboards didnâ€™t exhaust the $50,000.â€ť
The reason Williams wanted to know about the available money is so it could be used for other projects instead of sitting in an account untouched for years.
"I know there is money left over from projects and it might not be a lot â€” just a couple hundred here and there â€”but it adds up and if it can go to help some groupâ€™s project, then I want to use it,â€ť he said. "The two projects I specifically have are one in Sky Ranch and one in Skyland.â€ť
Williams wants to designate $4,000 - $8,000 to Sky Ranch for additional lighting and street signs. He said the community has already done a lot for themselves.
Skyland, which Williams called a community experiencing growth with young couples with children, would receive up to $3,500 for swing sets so the community children could play somewhere.
"Itâ€™s just a little bit of money really but it means so much more,â€ť he said. "The extra lights could help encourage people not to leave their trash out which makes the community better. This is a simple, easy, relatively cheap way to move us where we want to be as a city.â€ť
Even with the maximum amount taken from the remaining funds to finance the Skyland and Sky Ranch projects, there is still at least $17,000. This money, Williams said, could go toward a number of other capital projects.
"I would like the money to stay toward going to developments for parks, but really it could be used for other capital items,â€ť he said. "This money could go toward the skate park the city is trying to get built.â€ť
Having a skate park in Mobile is something Williams has been work toward for several years. He set aside $150,000 of CDBG money to build a skate park at Public Safety Memorial Park, but that money was used for other projects when the area did not qualify for the federal funding.
Since there has been a drive to build a skate park at Public Safety Memorial Park even though the funding source has not been decided. The city has put out a request for proposals to design the skate park.
Jones said the administration has received proposals and will be announcing what firm won the contract in the coming weeks.