City Council tables resolution on transportation sales tax ballot item

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Cassville City Council tabled a motion on Monday night to enter into an agreement with McLinney and Co. to make arrangements for a vote to increase the sales tax. This increase would be earmarked specifically toward road improvements and the target date for ballot inclusion was identified as April of next year.

"I've always wanted us as a city, to try and have better streets -- better surfaces on the streets," said Terry Heinz, alderman. "The problem has always been in the past that we don't have a funding mechanism to fund street resurfacing."

Heinz introduced the measure and advocated for its consideration throughout the discussion. He expressed how the city currently receives state funds for street repairs and how the amount received is in his opinion inadequate to meet the current need.

"We do get state money -- motor fuel money," said Heinz, "which is $110,000 on average per year. That doesn't go very far when you're talking about resurfacing streets."

Heinz described how this amount includes not just material costs but also dedicated labor costs, which absorbs nearly 55 percent of the total.

"$50,000 approximately to do street repairs -- and that's about all you're going to get done for $50,000 is street repairs and not much in the way of street resurfacing," said Heinz.

Heinz expressed his long held desire to have a funding mechanism for city street improvements similar to the mechanisms that are currently in place for water and sewer projects.

"We have nothing specific to fund streets," said Heinz. "I would propose that in the next general election a 3/8th of a cent transportation sales tax [be requested] and that money would generate approximately $300,000 that would go to fund street repairs and resurfacing."

Heinz also noted his belief that this proposal would yield measureable improvements for the city.

Alderman Ann Hennigan expressed her concerns about this proposal and the significant increase in the budget that would occur as a result of this tax. She also referenced a pledge made by a previous council member to replace Walmart development funds with street repairs once the money is paid off. The council noted that this debt has been paid and that those funds are now available.

"Let's continue fixing that stuff and slow down on thinking about doing roads," said Hennigan. "We're going too fast on that. I don't want to ask our people for more money right now."

The issue was tabled.

Alderman Darrell Ledenham requested that the resolution be tabled to give the community time to react to the idea. Hennigan seconded his motion. Heinz was the only alderman who opposed the motion.

In other action taken by the council:

* Public works director Steve Walensky was asked to remove the material on the south wall to determine base construction material prior to soliciting an outside contractor for repairs.

* Walensky was directed to solicit bids for roof replacement with a warranty rather than seam repairs to deal with leaks caused by normal wear and tear.

* Approved a motion to accept the bid of Nationwide Surplus to take the city's surplus water meters for an amount of $9,659. This will be money that the city takes in for disposal of these surplus items.

* Passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross to accept renewal options for employee insurance. This renewal came in at no cost increase to the city with employees having two coverage levels to choose from.

* Changed the November council meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 12 because the regular meeting date falls on Veterans Day.

* Agreed to work with the school by serving as a vehicle to process a grant application with MODOT to place a sidewalk between the school campus and the square.

* Discussed language to be included in a revised vandalism ordinance and asked that a draft be developed for further discussion.

* Directed Walensky to submit a request and complete a grant application for Phase II of the water distribution system project.

* Passed a motion to approve the purchase of standardized patches for the police department.

* Granted permission to Walensky to conduct the fall clean up on Oct. 21-25 and to publicize this event to the community.

Alderman Ledenham expressed his concerns about the consent agenda near the end of the regular meeting.

"We chase so many rabbits during this consent agenda that it's really hard to follow," said Ledenham who requested that the council consider returning to a consent agenda with limited discussion and the addition of an oral report from department heads. The council consented to his request.

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