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Plaza road work on hold till March

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Road improvements in the Platte Valley Plaza in Platte City will now be on hold until at least March 2009.

On Thursday, the Transportation Development District (TDD) board met to discuss the financing for the city-backed portion of the planned improvements. The financial officer handling the bonds announced that the amount the city could be liable for was increasing and the board of aldermen will now have to approve the amount.

The aldermen were originally told the city would only be liable for $39,000 a year with no special assessment revenues from the TDD. The amount has now increased to around $50,000 according to Jack Dillingham, managing director public finance investment banking with Piper Jaffray.

Dillingham told the board that the sales tax revenues were not what they were expected to be.
“From an investor's side, the fact the first year's sales are not what we thought is not a deal killer,” said Dillingham.

Dillingham said that they should let the board of aldermen know about increase in possible liability.

The TDD collects a 7/8-cent sales tax as well as a tax on square footage for service businesses to repay the bonds for road improvements around the Platte Valley Plaza.

The issue will go before the city's subcommittees on Dec. 1 and 2, and then be heard by the board of aldermen on Dec. 9. The city will then close on the bonds on Dec. 17.

According to Deborah Polk, attorney for William (Bill) Mann, developer, the original amount the city was liable for was based on repaying the bonds over 20 years. The new number is based on repaying in 15 years.

The funding in question is for the project 2 improvements, which is the city-backed portion of the financing.

The project 1 financing is being provided strictly by Mann. On Thursday, Mann said he currently has all of the funding in the bank.

Andrew Homoly, project manager for the TDD, said steps are being taken to close down the work for winter.

Homoly said they will rebuild the shoulder along 92 Highway at Kentucky with gravel to get the cones out of the way and they will also use gravel along Running Horse Road, where the curbs were taken out, to remove the traffic cones as well.

Aaron Jung, TDD board member, asked if the weather were good, could the project move forward.

Homoly said it would be at least a four week effort to get mobilized and the asphalt plants will not start producing again until at least March.

“With the price of oil going down, the price of asphalt might go down,” said Homoly.

However, if the board of aldermen meets and does not accept the new liability, then the bonds can not be closed and there would be no funding for project 2.

“If it falls apart, then there's no reason for us to meet,” said Kenneth Brown, board member, about the board's next meeting.

If there is no funding for project 2, then only project 1 can move forward.

Project 1 is listed on the agreement signed in March as being the addition of traffic signals at Kentucky Avenue and Highway 92, addition of traffic signals at Running Horse Road and Platte Falls Road, construction of a turn lane on 92 Highway at Kentucky Avenue, and construction of a turn lane from I-29 Highway south to 92 Highway.

Project 2 is listed as adding a raised median and additional lane on Kentucky Avenue as well as traffic signal modifications, and widening of Running Horse Road for a dedicated left turn lane at Platte Falls Road with traffic signal modifications.

Mann is also attempting to have an 81.26 acre property east of Platte City annexed into the city. The property is located south of 92 Highway near the I-435 and I-29 Highway interchange.

The development would have 140 single family homes and 18 duplexes. It would also include some commercial development along 92 Highway.

Mann is currently planning a 27.93-acre commercial development at the 273 Highway and Interstate 29 intersection in Tracy. The development would include a truck stop/gas station.


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