Joplin Council Agrees to Fund Study for Future Sales Tax Proposal | Local News

City officials will begin preparing a future proposal to seek voter renewal of the city’s three-eighths of a cent capital improvement sales tax.

A contract with Olsson Engineering to prepare a master plan of proposed projects for the next 10-year cycle of the levy was authorized by City Council at its meeting last week. The study will cost $158,000.

Dan Johnson, deputy director of engineering services at the Department of Public Works, said the levy was first approved in 2004. It was last approved in 2014 for a 10-year project cycle.

He told a meeting last month that nine street and bridge projects had been completed since voters approved the last renewal. There are 10 more projects plus ongoing street and intersection maintenance to be done before the tax expires on January 1, 2025.

The tax is intended to fund major capital projects, including transportation and airport projects, as well as the construction of trails and bridges.

Projects already completed include the construction of an Interstate 44 overpass that will be integrated with the Connecticut Avenue widening. There is more work ahead to widen Connecticut between 32nd and 44th streets. A related project that was completed with tax money is the widening of 44th Street from Range Line in Connecticut with the construction of a roundabout in Connecticut.

In other business, the council approved a contract with CJW Transportation Consultants for design services for a new crosswalk on 20th Street next to Joplin High School.

Council also authorized an additional $125,000 for repairs to the sewer system in the Eastmorland neighborhood.

About a year ago, a contract was approved with Ace Pipe Cleaning for nearly $1.13 million for rehabilitation work on the Eastmorland sewer pond. This work is about 85% complete, but staff members note that there have been price increases of 260% on pipe materials used to reline sewer lines.

Certain sections of the network have been renewed, sewer easements have been cleared and the largest gravity pipes have been assessed. It is expected that the remaining work can be done within two months, according to the staff report.

In other matters, the board approved:

• A $960,000 contract with Crossland Construction to install drying bed covers at the Shoal Creek sewage treatment plant. The drying beds are currently not covered, which slows drying, staff said.

• Received additional state funding from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for a project completed last year to relocate the general aviation entrance to Joplin Regional Airport. Airport manager Steve Stockam said in reviewing the project, total costs exceeded actual expenditures by $35,516 due to inflation. The state will pay for the shortage, bringing the total construction cost to $944,624.

• Sales of surplus City real estate including land on North St. Louis Avenue and North Street to TAMKO Building Products for $11,500; and lots at 1304 Kentucky Ave. for $15,001, 916 Jackson Ave. and a lot at Junge Boulevard and Sergeant Avenue for $12,001 each, all to Ledford Construction.

• Adopted a policy and bylaws to allow the installation of parklets in parking lots for public use and restaurants on city streets where the speed limit is 25 mph or less. Lori Haun of the Downtown Joplin Alliance said some downtown businesses are asking for the parklets and the first one is to be temporarily located on Joplin Avenue outside a cafe.

Sallie R. Loera