City officials are confident that a proposed community improvement district (CID) to enact a special sales tax to raise funds for new street improvements on East Osage will go forward, but the paperwork is moving more slowly than anticipated.
Petitions have not been received, voting yes or no, from two of the largest property owners in the proposed improvement district — the Meramec Valley R-III School District and St. Bridget Catholic Church.
“We have received the petitions of more than 50 percent of the property owners,” said City Administrator Harold Selby, “but the rules for forming CIDs don’t allow a majority of small property owners to make decisions for the entire district. The larger properties — and the majority of the assessed valuation — have to be represented.”
Under provisions for a CID, petitions must be received from more than 50 percent of the property owners and owners of more 50 percent of the assessed valuation.
“We’re not thinking that they (the school district and church) oppose the CID,” Selby said. “But they are both nonprofit entities that are governed by boards. No one person can cast the vote. The matter has to go to their respective boards.”
There are 102 parcels located within the proposed CID, which extends from Western Avenue to Clear Creek Road.
The school district owns three parcels in the proposed district with an assessed valuation of $ $4,357,300.
The Catholic church owns two parcels, with assessed valuation of $885,600.
If the majority of property owners return petitions to the city approving the CID, Selby said work would begin quickly.
A $1.4 million project would add new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, trees and stormwater improvements along East Osage, giving it a parallel appearance to improvements on West Osage.
Federal STP funds would provide $1 million toward the project. The city’s share of the cost would be $446,325.
“The city’s match would only be 20 percent and we’d be prepared to move forward,” Selby said.
Superintendent Randy George said he’s still studying the materials sent to the school district along with the petition.
“The school district has three properties in the CID,” George said. “Meramec Valley Middle School, the small wedge of land across the street from the middle school and the Community School.”
Although the middle school will always be a middle school, the future of the Community School building is less certain, according to George. If the building were to be purchased in the future and used as a business, that business would be required to collect the special CID sales tax.
“We’re looking at the ramifications of the future of the CID,” George said.