Water Tower Washington

Six potential capital improvement sales tax projects, totaling an estimated $5 million, were unveiled Tuesday afternoon.

The Washington Capital Improvement Sales Tax committee heard the first formal presentations for projects city departments would like to complete if voters extend the half-cent sales tax next April.

Department heads discussed the merits of the various projects and pushed for funding.

The city’s capital improvement sales tax expires in 2018 and the committee has been tasked with selecting projects that could be funded if it is renewed.

The half-cent tax is estimated to generate $12.6 million over eight years if the city chooses to secure bond funding.

Communications

The first presentation came from Communications Director Lisa Moffitt, who said for $280,000 the city could improve its weather alert sirens.

Currently, the city has eight sirens than can sound in inclement weather. Moffitt said seven are from the early 1990s and are outdated.

She said the city’s coverage could be improved with modern technology.

By upgrading to omnidirectional sirens, Moffitt said the alerts would be louder and cover a larger area. The sirens cost an estimated $40,000 each, she said.

A nine-cell system being considered would have a range of 2.5 square miles.

Police Department

The Washington Police Department is requesting $824,000 for new radios for every police officer and firefighter.

Police Chief Ed Menefee said there are a number of communication gaps within the city and nearby that present problems for first responders.

In those dead zones, communication between other radios can be challenging.

To address the issue, Menefee said the police and fire departments would like to join the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network (MOSWIN) system. The state-run system recently placed equipment on the Crestview water tower so the city can easily join up, he said.

The bulk of the cost — about $750,000 — would be for new radios. Every radio, including car radios, would have to be replaced.

After installation, there would be a $49,600 annual fee, but that would be offset by other savings. The city is in the process of building its own fiber optic network. When finished, it could save about $144,000 annually.

Information Technology

In the shortest presentation, Information Technology Director Robert Douglas requested $500,000 for his department.

Douglas said the city recently rebuilt its computer network. The process involved buying servers and other big, expensive pieces of equipment.

This summer, the city spent about $400,000 on the work. Since technology has a five- to seven-year life span, Douglas said the current network would likely need to be replaced during the capital sales tax period.

He said the funds would be used to ensure the city is proactive and keeps the network up and running smoothly.

Public Works

Director of Public Works John Nilges presented three potential projects totaling $3.25 million.

The first is a proposal for a new 1 million-gallon water tank on the east end of town. According to a 2015 hydraulic study paid for by the city, the eastern end is growing at a rate that by 2021 a new tower will be needed.

Without the tower, residents in the area would experience issues with water pressure and would have a lesser protection rating. The tower is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

The second project proposed is to secure additional funding to slip line sanitary sewer pipes. With past capital improvement sales tax funds, the city has done slip lining, Nilges said.

The slip lining essentially inserts a “sock” into the sewer line which, under heat and pressure, conforms to the interior of the old pipe, basically forming a new pipe within the old line.

The city has been trying to slip line the older part of town to fix infiltration issues and Nilges said more work is needed.

In the past, the city has set aside $100,000 to $200,000 annually to slip line portions of town. The total funds requested Tuesday was $1.5 million.

The final project proposed is a new storage facility for public works vehicles and equipment. Nilges said the city has been proactive in recent years purchasing newer vehicles and equipment, but has run out of storage space at the city’s facility off Chamber Drive.

Nilges proposes a 7,200-square-foot simple facility to help with storage. He said it would basically be a metal building with roll-up doors. The estimated cost would be $250,000, based off a similar project MoDOT recently did, he said.

Next Step

Tuesday’s presentations were the first in a series for the committee.

At the committee’s Nov. 14 meeting, the group will hear from the library, fire department, economic development and about energy conservation projects.

The committee also made plans for a public forum Monday, Nov. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at city hall.

A survey to provide input on the tax projects can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/5TDTLRB.