REDUCED SALES TAX FOR ROADS ON BALLOT
The Platte County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) recently voted to endorse the upcoming roads sales tax ballot question. Voters in Platte County will decide next Tuesday, Nov. 8 on the question of a 10-year extension of the current roads sales tax.
The renewal of the tax would be at a reduced rate compared to previous versions of the roads sales tax. Previously at 3/8th cent, the county commission earlier this year decided to place a quarter cent roads sales tax on the ballot.
The tax has aided in maintaining county roads and bridges since 2002.
“We went out to the majority of the cities and asked, what are your road needs?” said Aaron Schmidt, PCEDC board member. “We came up with ranking criteria; safety, economic development, traffic volumes, ability to leverage funds, and the condition of the roadway.”
Since 2013, about $60 million has been collected from this tax. The money has been invested into over 24 transportation projects throughout Platte County.
PCEDC compiled a list of 82 current road and bridge projects totaling close to $250 million indicating that there is still a great need for transportation improvements. The proposed 10-year extension will allocate 10% of generated revenue toward designated county projects, while the additional 90% will be divided between the cities and unincorporated areas based on road miles and population data gathered from the 2020 census.
“For 20 years, Platte County and our municipalities have leveraged this tax to help secure federal, state, and local government matching funds for projects that otherwise could not be completed,” said Tina Chace, PCEDC executive director. “As the fastest-growing county in the state of Missouri, the roads sales tax will ensure that we maintain our current transportation infrastructure while addressing additional safety and capacity needs.”
When the county commission’s decision to send a reduced tax rate proposal to voters was announced in August, the reduction was not met with happy faces by some city and road district officials throughout the county. Representatives from the Platte County Economic Development Council had recommended that the county commissioners keep the tax level at 3/8th cent for the sake of future projects as well as staying up to date with road maintenance needs.
“The reduction will no doubt have a long term impact on future road projects in rural Platte County,” Frank Offutt, district administrator for the Platte City Special Road District, told The Landmark in August.
Their frustration with the cut did not affect the Platte City Special Road District’s support of the proposal, which will have a 10-year sunset, the same as the previous two 10-year terms for the 3/8th sales tax.
The road district commissioners, who serve in a publicly elected capacity, “support the renewal of the county road sales tax,” Offutt added.
“The Platte City Special Road District remains appreciative the county commission supports the missions of special road districts,” Offutt continued.
County commissioners have expressed the feeling that the tax can be cut without a negative impact to the communities served.
“This tax will help us to continue to maintain our roads and bridges. But because of the work done over the last 20 years, we do not need to take as much from the people. We will still have enough money to fund several major projects. We have received the current plans from the cities for road improvements. This tax will give us the flexibility to change as our needs change in the future,” Joe Vanover, second district county commissioner, said back in August.
“Cities and road districts will continue to get about the same amount of funding after the tax is reduced because we do not need to set aside a large capital projects fund to replace a bunch of bridges,” Vanover said last summer.
Bob Heim, public works director for Platte County, said at a county commission meeting in August that there is “not nearly the need” for projects in the unincorporated areas of the county that there was when the tax was first passed about 20 years ago and then when the tax was renewed 10 years later.
“We’re (county road and bridge) cutting back on what we need to pull out of that pot,” Heim remarked.
The ballot language is:
“Shall the County of Platte renew the countywide sales tax for the use of transportation-related projects, including, but not limited to, roads, bridges, drainage structures, and sidewalks, at the rate of one fourth of one percent for a period of 10 years from the date on which such tax will expire?”
A simple majority is required for passage.
Vanover has said that “Since 2013, approximately 36% of funds collected from this sales tax have been set aside for bridge replacements and major capital projects. The current commission proposal calls for 10% of revenue to be allocated to a county-wide capital projects reserve fund. The remaining funds will be split between cities and unincorporated areas based on population levels shown in the 2020 census and current road miles.”
Additional information regarding the roads sales tax may be found at plattecountyroads.com.
Platte County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) is a not-for-profit organization “promoting, enhancing, and growing economic development throughout Platte County.”
PCEDC began in 1988 as a partnership between private and public sectors with 61 members and has grown to over 100 members from a dozen different sectors.