FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City’s Public Works Director Dan Smith presented the first reading of a bill requesting to call an election on April 2, 2019, asking voters whether or not to continue the 1/4-cent Capital Improvements Sales Tax for a period of 20 years.
Springfield voters first approved the 1/4-cent sales tax in 1989 and have renewed it nine times, most recently in 2016 by 86 percent. The tax has generated approximately $10 million annually for voter-approved projects and programs.
Recent projects completed as promised include the widening of Republic Road; Campbell and Primrose intersection improvements; miles of school sidewalk construction and stormwater infrastructure improvements; and major street resurfacing and rehabilitation in all four City Council zones.
Over the program’s history, funding has been leveraged with other partners, including county, state, federal and private developer funding to increase investment return.
Projects for the 2019 proposal were selected based on an evaluation of City/agency need; citizen input from 1,504 responses on a public survey; level of partner and agency commitment, such as continuation projects and equitable dispersion across the city. In addition to ranking projects, citizens weighed in on three questions, asking whether to increase or maintain investment for improving pavement condition (58 percent indicated increasing investment), improving sidewalks, trails and bike lanes (66 percent indicated increasing investment) and funding economic development projects (53% supported increasing).
City/agency need is determined by City departments and partner agencies who assess other variables that may impact the project’s overall benefit to the community. Total crashes, traffic capacity, infrastructure condition, economic development potential and flooding within the project area were all factors considered.
The specific proposed construction projects include:
• Galloway Street Widening (Luster to Lone Pine)
• Division Street Reconstruction (National to Glenstone)
• West Bypass and Kearney Intersection Improvements
• Division Street Sidewalk (West Avenue to Kansas Expressway.)
• Battlefield and Lone Pine Intersection Improvements
• National and Sunset Intersection Improvements
• Scenic Avenue over Wilson’s Creek Bridge Replacement
• Walnut Street over Jordan Creek Bridge Replacement
The specific proposed design projects include:
• Kansas Avenue Widening (Maplewood to Walnut Lawn)
• Fremont Avenue Widening (Erie to Independence)
• Campbell Avenue Widening (Republic to Westview)
Proposed City-wide programs include:
• Major street resurfacing and rehabilitation
National/Battlefield/Sunshine Major Street Resurfacing
• Sidewalk/curb and gutter construction
• Schools sidewalk program
• Neighborhood initiative program
• Cost-Share / Economic Development Projects
• Traffic Signal / Traffic Calming
National and Commercial Traffic Signal Improvements
• Center City Development
Jefferson Avenue Streetscape (Walnut to St. Louis)
Stormwater Program Areas of Focus
• Rountree Stormwater Improvement Project
Pickwick Avenue and Lombard Street to Weller Avenue and Monroe Street
Pickwick Avenue from Grand Street to Delmar Street and Weller Avenue from Grand
Street to Delmar
McCann Avenue from Page Street to Harrison Street
Rogers Street and Fremont Avenue to Belmont Avenue and Monroe Street
• Grant Avenue from Norton Street to Woodridge Street
• Berkeley and Westwood to Seminole and Nettleton
• Hampton from Seminole to Cherokee
• Loren Street and Karla Avenue to Bennett Street and Meadowview Avenue
• Area around Lone Pine Avenue and Catalpa Street
The above projects would occur over a five-year period. For future projects, public input would again be sought and another evaluation of projects would be discussed publicly. The final approval for each project still would require City Council action.
Some reasons that suggest a longer term (20 years) could be beneficial include:
• The City currently splits up project phases (e.g., design and construction) and cannot fully commit to our citizens that a project will be completed, regardless of need, until a future tax initiative is approved. An extended term would allow us to see a project commitment all the way through.
• Due to short tax terms, it is more challenging for the City to respond to unknown future needs. These could be related to a job growth project or critical infrastructure needs.
• A longer tax term allows us to have the flexibility to respond to such a need, if necessary; and
• Provides flexibility to utilize bonding, with future voter approval, to accelerate certain projects and/or to address larger scale projects that would use too high a proportion of pay-as-you-go tax dollars.
“When you have a longer window of planning, it does create additional efficiencies,” Smith explained. “And could expedite project timelines.”
About the 1/4-cent capital improvement sales tax program
The current 1/4-cent capital improvement sales tax, renewed by Springfield voters for the ninth time in 2016, is estimated to generate approximately $30 million, which is being invested in projects such as intersection improvements, school sidewalks and traffic signals.
When possible, funding is leveraged with other partners including county, state, federal, and developer funding to increase the investment return to the citizens of Springfield.
In April 2019, Springfield voters will be asked to approve the renewal (with no tax increase) which funds capital improvement and transportation improvement projects in Springfield. The 1/4-cent capital improvement projects sales tax currently has a three-year sunset, was first approved in 1989 and was renewed in 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.
Projects that have been completed with 1/4-cent funds include:
Intersection / Interchange Improvements:
• I-44 and Kansas Expressway
• James River Freeway at National Avenue
• James River Freeway at Campbell Avenue
• National Avenue at Kearney Street
• Campbell Avenue at Primrose
• Widening of U.S. Route 65 to 6 lanes, in 2 phases, from Chestnut Expressway to Sunshine Street, and from Sunshine to Battlefield Road.
• Widening of Republic Road in various phases.
• Turn lane improvements for safety and capacity at various locations, such as Glenstone at Battlefield and Chestnut Expressway at Sherman Avenue.
• Bridge and pavement preservation, including bridge rehabilitation on Kansas Expressway viaduct.
• Design priority intermodal connectivity improvements to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and transit mobility.
• Construct pedestrian connections to transit stops along Glenstone Avenue.
• Enhancements to the Ozarks Traffic Intelligent Transportation System including variable message signs.
• Cost-share projects for economic development working with MoDOT, Greene County and private developers.
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For more information, contact Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].