Caltrans auditors accused Arvin City leaders last September of misusing roughly half a million dollars in funds the city received from a Caltrans grant. Now, city manager Jerry Breckenridge says the city of Arvin and County of Kern have agreed on a plan to pay back the funds.
The issues stem all stems from an active transportation program grant for which the city of Arvin applied. Caltrans approved the application and allocated the city $557,986 to go specifically towards the building and improving of sidewalks at 15 locations in the city, including sidewalks near Arvin schools. But according to a Caltrans audit, the money did not go to those projects, and instead went to building sidewalks at non-designated locations in the city.
City leaders say Caltrans was aware of changes made to the plan, but added the city never submitted the proper paperwork to indicate the change in plans to work on sidewalks in other locations.
In essence, that is why Caltrans said it wants its money back.
But Arvin City Manager Jerry Breckenridge said Wednesday the city has worked out a deal with the Kern County Public Works Department to build the sidewalks at the 15 designated locations set in the original plan.
The city will pay back Caltrans with existing money from the city’s transportation fund, per Breckenridge.
“What we’ve put forward last night was an agreement between us and the county that states the county will be responsible for completing the specific projects that were identified in the application,” he said. “So all of the projects that Caltrans said we didn’t complete, the county will come into Arvin and complete those projects projects for us. We’ll use existing funds that we have available to us — transportation funds — to complete those projects.”
City leaders said Caltrans was content with the agreement.