The Washington sales tax committee’s traveling show stopped at city hall Monday night.
Committee member Kurt Voss appeared in front of the city council and city department heads at the administration/operations committee meeting.
Voss is a member of the sales tax committee’s speaker group. From now until the April 3 Election Day, the speakers will visit Washington groups to pitch the eight-year renewal of the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax.
Voss’s pitch included the facts of the tax, a history of past projects and an explanation of proposed projects. The commission had no questions and Mayor Sandy Lucy thanked Voss for his support of the city and the tax.
Voss pointed out the tax has been in place since 1989. He said the tax has always had a sunset so voters could grade the council on how the money was spent.
Throughout the life of the tax, the funds have been used for a variety of projects. Voss pointed out the public safety building, multiple fire stations and parks projects as examples. He said the most recent tax renovated and rebuilt the city library.
In addition to projects, the city also has been able to use funds for grants and matching funds for projects.
Voss said the sales tax is not just for residents. He said it’s estimated Washington has a trade population of about 80,000 people who shop in town and pay sales tax.
The tax on the ballot April 3 is an extension and will not change the tax rate, Voss noted.
The sales tax committee spent months selecting projects that could be completed with the projected $16.3 million worth of revenue generated if the tax is extended. Voss said the list was citizen driven.
The committee hosted an open house, conducted a survey and solicited comments online. Those comments were used to weigh and rank projects.
As a result of the lengthy debate, the committee came up with 30-plus projects that could be funded if the tax were approved.
The council took no action on Voss’ presentation.
The projects supported by the committee include storm siren replacements, a new fire station, a new fire truck, new breathing equipment for firefighters, technology upgrades for firefighters, Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network project for public safety;
Infrastructure for a new industrial park, airport improvements, parks facility roofing upgrades, Lions Lake pavilion upgrades; a new Phoenix Park playground;
Phase 2 of the skate park, a new Krog Park playground, a storage facility for public works and the parks department, sanitary sewer slip lining, a roof for the main stage, fencing for the fairgrounds;
Ronsick Field improvements, technology improvements for the city’s computer network, utility burial for Downtown Washington, paver replacement for downtown intersections, depot maintenance projects, a downtown Wi-Fi network, waterworks building maintenance;
New light standards downtown, a paving project for a new riverfront park, rehabilitation of the city auditorium, replacement of the city pool, repairing the Hillermann tennis courts and restrooms, a new water tower and energy-efficiency projects.