by Karin Craig
For the Union
The city of East Bethel will soon be replacing its 15-year-old, storm-damaged billboard at the intersection of Highway 65 and Viking Boulevard with a new electronic reader board.
At its Sept. 19 meeting, the East Bethel City Council unanimously agreed to solicit bids for a double-faced, 10-foot high and 16-foot wide board that can display numerous types of fonts, letter sizes and animations. The upper portion of the sign would hold display the city of East Bethel nameplate.
The reader board is expected to come with a price tag between $60,000 and $85,000. There is currently $50,000 in the city’s 2012 Economic Development Authority (EDA) budget for a reader board sign, and the city has received a $2,800 damage claim payment and a $5,000 donation from the East Bethel Seniors toward the cost of the sign, bringing the city’s total available funds for the sign to $57,800 for 2012.
If the new reader board can be installed before the end of the year, the city has the option of an intra-fund, no-interest loan from its HRA account to cover costs above that amount. If the sign is not completed until 2013 this loan will be unnecessary, as there is another $45,000 preliminarily approved for the sign in the EDA’s 2013 budget.
The existing billboard was damaged by storm in May and is currently not functional.