By Stephanie Edwards
Tribune Reporter

Dena Mezger, Director of the Public Works Department, presented a plan to renew the Capital Improvements sales tax set to expire next year. The current plan imposes a one-half of one percent sales tax on the city for the purpose of funding capital improvements. The current tax was approved in 2007 and was set to renew after ten years.

The recommendations from the PWC included a proposal to include a fifteen-year renewal date on the tax. The proposal would raise an estimated $112.5 million for projects in that span of time. Projects included a number of road projects (see table) and other transportation related projects including the sidewalks gap program, curb improvements, a downtown parking garage, street lights for additional roads and upgrades to existing lights, Rock Island Trailheads in the city, and funding for MoDOT system projects.

The PWC recommends placing the renewal on the election ballot April 4, 2017 and fund the list of projects as presented.

The ten-year renewal would net an estimated $75 million in revenue.

The proposed budget breaks down as follows: Road Projects, $58,500,000; Transportation Related projects, $17,500,000; and Stormwater projects, $24,500,000. The total estimated budget is $100,250,000.

Mezger explained that the renewal would include several stormwater program goals. The long list of stormwater project goals were derived primarily from resident feedback gathered during the 2007 bond renewal discussions.

Stormwater projects include structure flooding at approximately 35 locations, streambank erosion, and replacement of deteriorated corrugated metal pipes.

Mezger said there are still a number of homes that flood from stormwater runoff and more that are threatened by the erosion of stream banks. The replacement of the corrugated metal pipes is an issue that was coming for a while, she said. Many of the older neighborhoods have problems with sink holes when the pipes give way.

The stormwater funds would improve the existing system and expansion implementation of federal regulatory compliance, and a proactive approach to ensure that standards are up-to-date.
Discussion to include stormwater projects with the CIP sales tax has been discussed for a period of time.

Councilmember David Mosby serves as chair or the PWC. He praised the committee for months of hard work on the proposal.

After a long discussion among members of the council a motion was ultimately made to adopt the resolution. The motion passed 7-1 with Councilmember Diane Forte the opposing vote.