ANDERSON – With the loss of potentially $3.5 million in federal funds, it appears Anderson’s elected officials have reached a tentative agreement on a new site for the CATS terminal.
During the 2014 budget hearings last October the Democrat-controlled Anderson City Council voted to remove $470,000 for the city’s share of the funding. The funding was used to purchase new CATS buses this year.
The disagreement between the council and Mayor Kevin Smith was over a location for the new terminal. The administration wanted it placed at the intersection of 14th Street and Central Avenue and the council was looking at the parking lot on the southeast corner of 14th and Meridian streets.
Smith announced Friday that the city is considering using Community Development Block Grant funds as the local matching funds for construction of a new City of Anderson Transportation System facility.
The city was facing an October deadline to dedicate the local matching funds or lose the $3.5 million in Federal Transportation Administration funding.
Both the council and administration have agreed the possible site for the CATS terminal is west of the McDonald’s restaurant. The site includes several houses, storage buildings and several former small business locations.
There are potential problems, though, because the property owner wants substantially more than the property's appraisal.
Council President Pam Jones said Friday she approached the administration in April about moving forward with a new bus terminal.
“We were told the city didn’t have the money,” Jones said of a meeting with Smith and Councilman David Eicks.
Jones said the money removed from the 2014 budget is still available for the CATS terminal and not in limbo.
“We didn’t want the city to lose the federal money. We were trying to save those funds,” she said. “We had to do something pretty soon.”