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Parkville lowers its tax levy

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The Parkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday voted to reduce their overall tax levy for 2008.

The board voted to keep the general tax levy at the same level, $0.4734 per $100 assessed valuation, but to reduce the general debt tax levy from $0.125 to $0.122 per $100 valuation.

The approved rates will cause the general tax revenue to increase by $31,355, from $794,968 to a revenue of $826,323. The debt tax levy will only increase by $3,043 form $209,909 to a 2008 total of $212,952.

The total revenue for the city in property tax will be $1,039,275.

According to Dave Olson, interim city administrator, the city is required to roll back the debt levy to just meet the needs of the city's bond payments.

The assessed valuation for the city increased by more than $6.6 million to a total of $174,550,798 through new construction and reassessed personal property.

The board also approved two agreements with the Missouri Department on Transportation, MoDOT, on Tuesday night concerning the Highway 9 bridge replacement project.

The first agreement with MoDOT is because of the city's request to have sidewalks on the bridge. The agreement requires the city to maintain the sidewalks and make repairs instead of MoDOT.

The second agreement details the financial obligations for the city of Parkville. The agreement shows the total cost of the bridge project is estimated to be a total of $675,000.

The city has received a grant from the Mid-America Regional Council, MARC, for $268,000 in 2009 through the Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality grant program for the bridge project. The grant also includes another possible $105,000 in 2010, but the money has not yet been awarded.

MoDOT has agreed to fund $200,000 for the project, leaving the city with an estimated cost of $207,000. However, if the grant for 2010 is approved the total obligation for the city will reduce to $102,000.

According to Dan Koch, public works director, the city had earmarked $200,000 for the project in August 2007 through the city's capital improvement project budget. With the earmark, the total to come out of the city's general fund is an estimated $7,000.

Koch also said that if the bids for the project are more than the expected amount, the city still has the option to reject the bids and hang on to the plans for the bridge and re-bid the project later. However, if the city delays the project, they will lose the grant and funding from MoDOT.

Currently the bridge work is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2009. The plan is for the bridge to be a double box culvert bridge with three lanes with sidewalks on both sides.

The board also began discussing the possible vacating of Fifth Street east of Hwy. 9. Park University has applied to the city to have the street property vacated to provide parking for the Masonic Lodge property, which the university currently owns.

However, the owner of Four Seasons Lawn and Landscape, John Cazzell, opposed the city vacating the property by saying he uses the roadway for access to the rear portion of his property. Cazzell said the city has not maintained the right-of-way since he purchased the property in 1981 and his company has installed gravel and cleaned up the property.

Sean Ackerson, assistant city administrator, said the rear portion of the property could still be accessed through the front property, and could more easily be accessed if some installed limitations were removed by the property owner.

The limitations include some concrete block retainers and other vehicles parked on the property.
Ackerson claimed the property owner did not receive proper permits to install the retainers and said some of the fill work at the back of the property was done without permits.

Roger Hershey, general counsel for Park University, said the university is seeking the street be vacated in order to provide a parking area for the lodge and to reduce damage on the university's property caused by vehicles entering the Four Seasons property.

The board said they wished to get more information before voting on the issue and decided to table the discussion until the board's next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2.




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