Calera accepts TAP grant for Main Street improvements, discusses audit

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

CALERA – The city of Calera voted to accept a Transportation Alternatives Program grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation and discussed findings from a recent audit at a regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, April 1.

The TAP grant would offer the city of Calera $800,000 for the streetscape improvements along Main Street. The resolution passed by the City Council accepted those funds and authorized the city to enter contracts with the involved parties.

Now that the city has accepted the funds and will move forward with the project, the next steps involve numerous meetings with engineers and ALDOT representatives to finalize design plans and establish a construction schedule.

According to Vice Chairperson of the Industrial Development Board Bill Davis, the TAP grant is designed for transportation improvement projects that address pedestrians, not motorized vehicles.

“The idea of a TAP grant is a project that can move fairly quickly,” Davis said. “You’ll see a lot of sidewalks, streetscapes and things like that. It’s not meant for transportation projects. It’s not meant for motor vehicle projects.”

This particular project will aim to improve the ADA compliance of sidewalks and create at least two ADA compliant parking spaces.

Davis also emphasized that the resolution presented to the council did not solidify any plans for the project—it solely allowed the city council to accept the TAP grant funds.

“All (the resolution) is saying is ‘ALDOT, we want the money. We’re going to work with you. We’re going to follow these guidelines in our process.’” Davis said. “The design is not done. I know there’s concerns about losing parking, and we’ll keep as much as we can.”

In addition to discussing the TAP grant, the city also presented the finds from the audit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023.

The audit reported that the city of Calera’s General Fund had a balance of $15,595,472 and the total cost of all the city’s programs was $29,000,822.

Calera’s Finance Director Kelly Ellison wanted to draw the council’s attention to the management letter at the front of the audit.

“This (letter) is prepared by the auditor to discusses findings and recommendations for improvements in internal controls that were identified during the audit,” Ellison said. “The independent audit letter and the management letter had no findings, so that means we received a clear audit. It’s called an unmodified opinion. It’s the best recommendation you can get. It means that they had no recommended internal control changes.”

 

In other news, the Calera City Council also approved resolutions to accomplish the following:

-Accept the adoption of new police polices

-Proclaim April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month

-Accept a storm shelter property donation from Rising Eagle, LLC.

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