By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Last month, Jerry Nuttbrock’s proposal to build a patio at the Keizer Rapids Park amphitheater wasn’t approved, in part, because he was asking for too much.
This month, Nuttbrock brought his revised plan with more exact cost estimates back to the Keizer Park and Recreation Advisory Board.
This time, the project almost wasn’t approved because it didn’t cost enough.
Ultimately the Parks Board gave Nuttbrock the remaining $5,000 from this year’s matching grant program fund. Nuttbrock expects to start the 2,400 square foot project in early June and be done by the end of the month.
Parks Board members typically seek to fund applications where the proponent will fund at least half of the total project cost. For this project, Nuttbrock listed a total cost of $8,350. Since the part not covered by the grant would be $3,350, that caused some concerns, especially for Richard Walsh.
Nuttbrock noted he switched from pavers to concrete for decorative touches and made other cuts as well.
“That has lowered the cost of the project,” Nuttbrock said. “I’ve reduced the numbers. With these numbers, I’m confident we can get the whole thing done.”
William Criteser was the first to notice the proposal didn’t cover half the cost.
“Shouldn’t they put up an equal amount?” Criteser said.
“That was the idea,” Walsh said.
As such, one idea was to lower the matching amount to $3,300 from $5,000.
“I’m concerned that Jerry’s already been here a few times,” Scott Klug said. “If we tell him he’s only getting $3,300 instead of $5,000, it will be the third time he’s been sent out and come back again.”
Walsh noted the Parks Board has the authority to spend funds, but is still accountable to the city council.
“I went to the (budget committee on May 5),” Walsh said. “They were interested in the idea that we double the funds. If we tell them we don’t quite double the funds on something, it’s not quite the success.”
Klug argued Nuttbrock had other costs not being shown.
“We’re getting more than double on this, because Jerry is getting labor and he’s getting special deals,” Klug said.
Walsh pointed out the doubling needs to be seen on paper.
“When we go back to the city council, for the program to be funded more our big pitch is you give us $1,000 and you get $2,000 out of it,” he said. “I would rather have Jerry add to it to make it double. Add another piece to make it $5,000, it would be a 50-50 match and it’ll be good.”
After further discussion, Walsh came back to the same point.
“I think we can approve this on the condition that you raise things (to be) worth $5,000,” he told Nuttbrock.
Criteser said an option would then be to fund Nuttbrock at $3,300. Walsh asked if Nuttbrock could take that, then come back in June to add the rest after the council approves next year’s budget, which is scheduled to take place on June 1. The next Parks Board meeting is June 9.
“That is workable,” Nuttbrock said. “I want to do it in June. Either I take what I get now, or I withdraw and come back June 9. There’s going to be $15,000 sitting there and I can be first back in line. I don’t want to build in August and have it sit there (until next summer).”
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director, cautioned Parks Board members against two separate fundings.
“It would be cleaner if one application for a project was approved by the Parks Board, as opposed to some now, some later,” Lawyer said.
Lawyer also warned Walsh was “creating a beast” when talking about coming up with a policy to lower the amount granted if the math at the proposed level was less than 50 percent.
“I want to caution the board to try to make everything equal and fair,” Lawyer said. “Don’t create a situation for every situation. The program will lose credibility.”
A motion to accept the proposal and give Nuttbrock $5,000 was approved by a 5-1 vote. Walsh voted in favor but still had reservations.
“I’m voting aye, because I know you guys do fantastic work,” Walsh told Nuttbrock. “But if you get anything extra, I ask that you put in something extra to help us double the grant. The doubling mark is the thing. We want to tell citizens we’ve doubled the money.”
Nuttbrock was appreciative of the funding.
“Thank you,” he said. “You’re going to love this project.”