LAUREL HILL — The City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of pursuing a state grant that could give the city up to $600,000 for road repairs.
Although the council will create an ordinance that could dissolve the city with a March 2014 referendum, city leaders took steps to ensure other opportunities to repair roads — other than relying on the county, if the city becomes unincorporated — are used.
The grant the council is seeking is the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant. This will be the third straight year the council has applied for the grant.
Last year's attempt fell just one permit short, when the city lost its consideration.
"Last time we needed a storm water permit," Mayor Joan Smith said. "By not having it, we lost 100 points (in the process).
The engineer and grant writer, who worked on the grant application failed to include the permit with the necessary paperwork, Smith said.
The council learned about the city's removal of consideration last month, Council Chair Larry Hendren said.
"We got things going the right way and it would be foolish in my opinion to turn that down," Councilman Clifton Hall said, before motioning for the council to proceed in applying for the grant. The remaining council members agreed and voted in favor.
A checklist during this attempt will help ensure everything required is submitted for consideration, Smith said. The application process will begin this July.
Many council members agreed the grant would provide a timelier solution than asking Okaloosa County for assistance.
"$600,000 is a lot more than the county gets every year (for road repairs)," Hendren said.
"We are going forward with the dissolution process, we're just not rushing into it," Hendren said after the meeting.
In a December town hall, both Hendren and Co-chair Robby Adams publicly stated they are in favor of dissolving the city.
"We have rushed into things in the past and we want to make sure we do this right the first time," Hendren said.