split vote was the end result for the two ballot questions facing Platte City residents Tuesday at the polls.
Residents were asked to vote on two separate issues regarding the city’s third version of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
Ballot Question #1, which asked voters if the city should issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $4 million to construct, extend and improve the streets of the city and make storm sewer improvements, passed with 66% of the vote. The question required only 57% approval for passage. (See election results chart on this page)
However, voters showed strong opposition to the second ballot question, which asked for authorization to impose a sales tax of 3/8 for transportation purposes. Voters voted down the proposed sales tax with 65% opposed to only 35% in favor.
The sales tax would have required only a simple majority for passage.
“The sales tax revenues would have paid the principal and interest on the $4 million in general obligation bonds, which would have funded the street improvement plan for 2006-2009,” said City Administrator Keith Moody.
Ultimately the voters’ decision in opposition of the sales tax has put a temporary hold on the long-range CIP projects.
In last week’s Landmark, Moody explained what would happen if the city was faced with this scenario.
“However, if the bonds pass and the sales tax doesn’t, we wouldn’t issue the bonds. We’d be in a position not to move forward with the projects because we don’t have a funding source.”
The projects scheduled for 2006 and 2007 would have completed the reconstruction of all city streets to a modern standard. Streets would have been upgraded to 28 feet wide, with curb and gutter along with storm sewer systems and sidewalks.
In 2008 and 2009, the city’s plans were to turn their attention to streets which already meet modern standards and to begin a resurfacing (mill and overlay) program to restore deteriorating driving surfaces.
Now without the sales tax funds, the city is unsure of where it will head next.
“I think the board will need to get out and speak with their constituents and get an idea for reasons for their votes and from there decide how they’d like to approach the issue,” said Moody.
“We’ll be able to finish this year’s projects but the 2006-09 projects are in a position where they are on hold.”
While the future of the CIP is uncertain, the faces of the Platte City Board of Aldermen are ones which will not change for at least another year.
With three vacancies open during the spring election, Platte City voters showed support for the current board.
Ward 1 Alderman Lee Roy Van Lew defeated challenger Tom Marquis, 65 votes to Marquis’ 47 votes.
Incumbent Ward 3 Alderman Jim Palmer had no problem defeating write-in candidate Ray Doescher, receiving 96 votes to six write-in votes for his opponent.
Ward 2 Alderman George McClintock ran unopposed in this year’s election. “I’m tickled to death with the idea of being reelected and I wanted to see the major end of the street construction completed and now I’ll be able to do that,” said 71-year-old Van Lew.
Despite the voters’ decisions regarding the sales tax, VanLew said the city will do what it can to see the CIP through.
“Right now we’ve got enough money to do the projects scheduled for 2005 and 2006. We were hoping for the sales tax to pass and it’s going to make it a little tougher now. But something will need to be worked out and we’ll go to work on that,” stated Van Lew.
Now that he has been elected to another term, VanLew looks forward to achieving the goals he set forth prior to the election.
“I would like to see more annexation to the south before Kansas City has a chance to jump in on us because they’re continually expanding their limits,” said VanLew.
“I also want to see development come about between Hwy. 92 and HH. I want to see us work towards making that happen.”
For Palmer this election win sets him up for his sixth consecutive term.
“This win means that we’re doing a good job at city hall. We’re trying to take care of the people and the city and that’s the only thing that we can do,” said Palmer.
During this term Palmer said he will focus on “taking care of the people.”
“You’ve got to take care of the people and the city, that’s your obligation,” stated Palmer.
In order to do that, Palmer will see that the completion of the CIP is carried through.
“I want to keep the CIP going and make sure the streets get redone,” said Palmer.
WESTON, DEARBORN RACES Weston voters reelected Howard Hellebuyck as its mayor over Cliff Harvey by a count of 272 to 191. Weston voters also approved a utility franchise fee and revenue bonds.
At Dearborn, there was one challenged race, that for a Ward 1 alderman seat. Write-in candidate appears to have defeated Gary Reed for the post, with 40 ballots cast for a write-in candidate to 26 for Reed. The Platte County Board of Elections will finalize numbers later this week.