Stallings, Indian Trail, Matthews face four-month window to finish planning
Before designing a transportation plan, Indian Trail, Matthews and Stallings first have to agree on a company to do the work. And unless the three towns hire a firm and show progress on the plan by the end of June, the state will take away their funding.
In September, the Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization set aside up to $75,000 in planning funds for the three towns to develop a long-term regional transportation plan, detailing road needs and future priorities. The money isn’t free, however. The towns must contribute at least 20 percent of the planning cost as part of a matching grant, and if they don’t show “’adequate progress” by the end of June, the state will withdraw its funding.
“The MUMPO funds must be expended by (the) end of the fiscal year, which was made clear in the request for proposals,” Indian Trail town engineer Scott Kaufhold said. “(It’s) agreed by (staff members from) the three towns that it is doable at this point.”
The towns have to agree on the proposed cost of the plan and how to select a firm to do the work. Once all three towns agree on a firm, one of them has to sign a contract. The remaining two towns would then sign interlocal agreements.
“The town staff of Matthews, Indian Trail and Stallings met with two perspective consulting firms yesterday to interview the consultants and to iron out the scope and deliverables for the potential project,” Stallings Town Manager Brian Matthews said Wednesday, Feb. 16. The firms are Charlotte-based Kimley Horn and Florida-based Wilbur Smith and Associates.
The three towns based their project on another regional effort, the Local Area Regional Transportation Plan, designed last year by four other western Union towns. Tired of waiting for the N.C. Department of Transportation to fix traffic problems, Marvin, Waxhaw, Weddington and Wesley Chapel teamed up in 2008 to create their own road plan. Each contributed $30,000, with the Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization adding $80,000.
Seeing the work accomplished in that effort and hoping to get their projects on the metropolitan planning agency’s Long Range Transportation Plan, Stallings, Indian Trail and Matthews, which share Monroe Road, decided to share the cost of designing their plan.
“The next step will be to take a recommendation back to our councils and see if they still wish to move forward,” Matthews said, adding his staff has not completed a recommendation.
The original problem for Matthews and Stallings council members came from sticker shock at the $150,000 Kimley Horn requested to do the job. While some details of the proposal were expected, such as determining the impact the Monroe Bypass will have on town traffic, council members saw other items as unnecessary.
For instance, Kimley-Horn estimated public workshops and print newsletters would cost $16,500, while the firm budgeted $15,000 for “potential vehicle improvements.”
Kaufhold said staff members could bring up the issue at Indian Trail’s Tuesday, Feb. 22 meeting.