Washington City Council Chambers

There is nearly $3 million slated to be spent this year in revenue generated from Washington’s capital improvement sales tax.

The most significant of those projects is a contract related to a city pool that would replace the aging Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex.

Darren Lamb, city administrator, said the city received proposals Friday, Nov. 1, for “owner’s representative,” similar to a construction manager, for the pool project.

“From there, we will look for a design-build team,” he told The Missourian. “So there may be another phase of contracts this (budget) year.”

There is $2,886,500 budgeted this year for projects funded by the capital improvement sales tax. Washington’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

The Washington Aquatics Facility Committee met Thursday, and is scheduled to meet later this month to review proposals for the owner’s representative.

In addition to the aquatics center, funds are budgeted this year through the sales tax to restore the Waterworks Building in the riverfront park.

In August, the city council entered into a contract with Horn Architects, Washington, to oversee restoration of the building. The city has signed a tentative lease for the building for the first time in 20 years since it began to house Waterworks Antiques.

Earlier this year, Downtown Washington Inc. and the city collaborated to attract a restaurant, winery, brewery or similar type of business based on the idea it would fit well in the Downtown area.

Initial plans call for a tasting room with light fare to be operated by a microbrewery in conjunction with a local winery. The business is considering a May 2020 grand opening, but no additional details about the business have been made public.

The Waterworks Antiques owners said earlier this year that they would not renew their lease, Lamb explained. They had been paying $900 per month for rent. That’s when the city and Downtown Washington Inc. began discussing a good fit for the building.

During talks in 2018 pertaining to the capital improvement sales tax extension, a committee identified the need for a new HVAC system, new windows and tuck pointing at the Waterworks Building.

There is a total of $110,000 of sales tax funds earmarked for the building and train depot.

Parks Projects

There are multiple projects for the Washington Parks Department that could be funded during the next several years with proceeds from a half-cent capital improvement sales tax.

That includes renovation of the Hillermann Park tennis courts and bathrooms, roofing repairs, Lions Lake pavilion upgrades, a new playground at Phoenix Park, a replacement of playground equipment at Krog Park and the second phase of the skate park project.

According to Lamb, this year the primary park project, other than the city pool, will be a new playground at the Main Park.

There also are plans for a pavilion replacement around Lions Lake.

Storm Sirens

The sales tax committee identified multiple other projects to be funded through the half-cent tax. That includes storm siren replacements scheduled for this fiscal year.

Lisa Moffitt, communications director, previously told The Missourian that plans called for the replacement of five sirens, which have been in use since before she began working at the city 24 years ago.

She explained that the new sirens will be omni-directional, replacing rotating sirens.

There was one storm siren already replaced this year after it was toppled by high winds.  

Breathing Gear

In addition, the Washington Fire Department is purchasing Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), with air cylinders and accessories, that will be put into service this year.

In September, the city council approved the purchase of 33 SCBA for the fire department. In addition, the Washington Community Fire District will purchase 18 SCBA units and cylinders — those will not be bought with sales tax funds.

There will be a total of 51 SCBA and 103 cylinders purchased from Sentinel Emergency Solutions LLC, Arnold, the only bidder.

The equipment replaces 15-year-old SCBA purchased in 2005, which has reached the end of its life span and must be removed from service by December.

Sales Tax Numbers

In April 2018, Washington voters approved the renewal of the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax for another eight years. There were 1,949 votes in favor, or 72.3 percent, and 746 votes against it, or 27.7 percent.

That’s the highest percentage of “yes” votes for the tax measure in an April election. The only other time the sales tax garnered more support was in November 1993, the first time it was renewed.

In April 1989, when the tax was first approved, it received 68.9 percent of the votes in favor. In November 1993 there was 80.6 percent approval, followed by 67.4 percent in April 2001 and 69.3 percent in April 2010.

Past projects include the city’s police station, renovations to city hall, multiple fire stations, the purchase of several fire trucks and parks improvements. Funds from 2010 renewal were used to renovate the city’s library.