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Road money options presented

One proposal is for a countywide 3/8 cent sales tax

by Shana Haines
Landmark reporter

On the shirttails of an announcement made by 2nd District Commissioner Steve Wegner, it was a relatively quiet evening for the public review of the Platte County Roads Master Plan Tuesday night.

Prior to the meeting's start, Wegner announced the public meeting was an informative session, not a venue for residents to offer complaints.

Although there were some issues stuck in the minds of residents it was a relatively calm evening as county commissioners and planning consultants from HNTB reviewed funding options for the Roads Master Plan for Platte County.

The Platte County Roads Master Plan identifies 21 roads in need of improvement, as well as improvements to bridges which have been rated as deficient by the state.

Officials identified the improvements by looking at many different criteria including current road conditions, existing traffic counts, road classifications, traffic sheds, future land use and public comment.

Officials identified the improvements needs as short term, mid term and long term needs.

During Tuesday's public meeting, two funding options were presented to residents which would allow the improvements to be made.

Option 1 proposes a combination of several different funding alternatives, including a county-wide property tax increase, county road district tax increase, neighborhood improvement districts, impact fees and an increase in general revenue spending.

With an estimated $18,740,00 generated over a period of 10 years from Option 1, less than half of the improvements identified as needing repair would get completed, according to officials.

Option 1 proposes an increase in county-wide property tax. The increase would generate $1 million annually, according to estimates.

County commissioners lowered the county-wide tax rate a few years ago. A county-wide property tax can legally be increased by commissioners to 9.5 cents without receiving a vote from residents.

In Option 1 it is proposed funding for the improvements come from a county road district tax of $135,000 over a 10 year period.

Additional funding for the proposal includes a $79,000 yearly Neighborhood Improvement District funding. The money would come from neighborhoods who taxed themselves for improvements. This option would have to be approved by the residents.

Impact fees of $120,000 and general revenue of $500,000 were also added to the 10 year plan for road improvements with Option 1.

Option 2 proposes a 3/8-cent sales tax increase that would be collected county-wide.

It is estimated a sales tax increase would generate approximately $65,474,900 over 10 years.

The sales tax would fund all identified improvements and provide money for each city for road improvements.

Nathan Pickett, a member of the steering committee for the roads project, said he is in favor of the sales tax.

Pickett told the audience that when residents from outside counties or states come to Platte County to shop, money generated from the sales would help improve roads.

Those close to the plan expect more changes to be made, according to Wegner. More meetings are anticipated concerning the plan.

Wegner encouraged the public to offer opinions and ideas about the Roads Master Plan.

"We do want to put together a good plan. To do that we need your (residents) help. We want a good plan," Wegner said.