City Council prepares to place sales tax increase on April ballot

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Cassville City Council met on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, a day that was re-scheduled from the day before due to the Veterans Day holiday. At that meeting, the council voted to authorize the city to enter into an agreement with the firm of McLiney and Company to make to arrangements necessary to place a referendum on the April 2014 municipal election to increase the transportation sales tax.

"They'll put the language together and get all the information for us for whatever we have to do with public hearings," said Mayor Bill Shiveley.

The proposed ballot item will add 3/8 cent to the transportation sales tax that would generate approximately $300,000 annually according to Shiveley, who sees this as an important measure for the community to consider.

"Based on the miles of street we have in town, the cost for what it would take for us to overlay two inches by 22 feet wide. It would take us in the neighborhood of 100 years to replace all of our streets at the present rate of $60,000 to $70,000 a year," said Shiveley.

Any monies collected from the proposed increase would be used strictly for street maintenance and transportation issues, according to Shiveley. If passed, the council would also be given authority to issue bonds based on anticipated revenues from the tax that could then be used to hasten repairs.

"These bonds can only be used for streets," said Shiveley. "That's part of the reason why we did it this way. Say you wanted to do a bond issue, then you'd have a revenue stream for doing this, and you could get the streets done quicker that way."

The measure passed by a margin of 3-1 with Alderwoman Ann Hennigan providing the lone dissenting vote.

In other business that night, the council discussed potential water rate increases and set a public hearing for Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. The proposed increase would be 1.5 percent on the water and sewer base and 3 percent on the gallon for water and 4 percent for sewer. This proposal would only be applied to overage amounts used by residents, according to Shiveley.

"Based on 5,000 gallons, which is an average or normal usage out there, there would be a $42.48 a year payment increase," said Shiveley in referencing a document that was prepared by Public Works Director Walensky and presented to the council.

Shiveley thinks that serious consideration should be given to this proposal because the city is still not meeting their reserve requirements for these areas of operation. The purpose of these reserves is to replace system components as they need to be replaced. The current asset reserve for water stands at $20,963.

"If we lost a 15 inch line coming across Flat Creek, we'd be dipping into everybody's reserves trying to put that in there instead of just taking it out of water and sewer," said Shiveley.

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