By Chris Furguson
The Brawley City Council approved direction to their City Manager, Rosanna Moore, to limit their unreimbursed contribution to the construction of the incomplete Panno Street to $300,000 using Traffic Impact Fees.
The amount was reduced from $400,000 at the insistence of Mayor Pro-Tem Sam Couchman, who said that he believed the city should not contribute a high amount of funding to a private enterprise seeking profits. The initial amount of $400,000 was proposed by council member Ryan Kelley, who stressed the importance of getting the road constructed.
There will be a 12-month time frame in getting the road complete once a reimbursement agreement is complete between Florentine Collection owners Sartan-Narah LLC and commercial developer Highway 86 Associates and the city.
There are two portions of the road that need to be worked on. The first is the rest of Panno Street itself just beyond the Florentine Collection housing project and the second are improvements along Highway 86, including moving of a street light that currently sits along the proposed street.
Construction of the road has been strongly passionate among residents of nearby Julia Drive and Willard Road, both of whom feel that the new road will ease traffic issues on their streets.
Members of the Florentine Collections Development were also on hand to plead for the higher contribution.
The city had been part of a lawsuit with the former developers over the project. Early in the process, Caltrans refunded a bond when the original developers abandoned the project which would have helped complete the road.
A recent settlement between the bonding company and the city could, after the city reimburses itself for expenses incurred in pursuing the litigation, mean between $100,000 and $200,000 in extra funds toward the project.
Currently, the agreement with the city and the development requires the completion of Panno Street before additional housing units can be constructed in the area.
By Chris Furguson