Washington city officials said they will continue to meet with road district representatives to iron out a deal they feel is fair to residents.
Last month, the city penned a letter to the Washington Special Road District requesting 25 percent of its total annual budget.
City Administrator Darren Lamb said that the personal property and real estates taxes of Washington residents fund 90 percent of the district, and that money is spent on roads outside the city limits.
According to state statute, a municipality can request up to 25 percent of funds from a special road district each year.
Last week, Lamb contacted The Missourian to clarify the amount of funds sought by the city.
Initially, the city requested $547,465.68 from the road district, which Lamb had calculated as 25 percent of the district’s budgets from 2016 through 2018. However, he did not take into account funds that already are collected for the city from residents within the road district.
Lamb explained that once Franklin County became a first-class county in 2000, 25 percent of the funds earmarked for road districts is directed to an account to be used by municipalities. Those funds are collected by Franklin County before the road district funds are distributed.
In addition to the funds to the city account, an additional 20 percent of revenue from road district residents goes to Franklin County.
That means the revenue the road district received in 2018 did not total $745,000, but instead $480,000, said Lamb, who explained that the city did not calculate the city and county funds taken from the personal property and real estates taxes when tallying the road districts revenue.
However, that does not change the city’s position, Lamb added.
“The city would like 25 percent of that,” Lamb added, “because 90 percent of it is coming from (Washington) residents.”
The Washington Special Road District covers about 80 percent of the city limits. However, the district only maintains 18.4 miles — all of which are outside the city limits.
Lamb added the intent of the districts was much different than how they are utilized today.
“It was farm to market — get people to the city where they spend money and get back safely,” he said.
Lamb said he understands how roads like Southpoint, Bieker and Pottery could be used for that purpose.
“But when you include dead-end roads, there is little that does for taxpayers (of Washington),” he said.
Lamb added the account created for Washington after Franklin County became a first-class county can be used for transportation costs in the city. There is now about $600,000 in that account.
The last time money was drawn from the account was in 2015 when the city used about $500,000. The city has budgeted those funds, about $600,000, for future transportation projects.
According to Lamb, a formalized agreement between the city and road district also could include shared resources such as equipment and staff.
Last week, Lamb stated that he began looking into the relationship between the city and the road district.
The investigation was spurred by a request from the road district to John Nilges, public works director, for the city to supply employees to help the district stripe roads.