The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 3, 2014

Joplin City Council appoints sales tax panel

A committee was appointed Monday by the Joplin City Council to study potential street projects that could be done in the next 10 years if voters would agree to extend the city’s three-eighths-cent sales tax for capital improvements.

Voters will have to decide whether to continue the tax, used largely for street building and widening. The city staff will ask the City Council later to place it on a ballot this year. The tax was first approved in 2004.

Each council member was asked to submit the name of someone who would be willing to serve on a task force to study proposals for projects that would be tied to passage of the tax renewal. The council, in its informal meeting Monday, approved the slate of appointments.

Those appointees are Kathy Blood, nominated by Mike Seibert; Ron Darby, by Gary Shaw; Aaron Doll, by Benjamin Rosenberg; Krissi Gooch, by Trisha Raney; Nancy Good, by Bill Scearce; Harold McCoy, by Jack Golden; Nancy O’Connell, by Morris Glaze; Fred Palmer, by Melodee Colbert-Kean; and Henry Robertson, by Mike Woolston.

In 2004, the tax was proposed as the result of growth studies conducted by the city that showed that traffic was increasing at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per year, and that seven out of eight vehicles traveling the city’s streets were not those of Joplin residents or businesses. The city had a number of street projects mapped out but said there were a number of major construction projects that could not be done without more revenue.

The 2004 Citizens Transportation Task Force was asked to evaluate transportation needs, give priorities to projects proposed by the city staff, determine the appropriate funding source and inform residents of those conclusions.

Collections of the capital improvements sales tax have brought in about $4.3 million to $4.8 million a year since 2008, according to the last monthly sales tax report obtained from the city on Jan. 10.

The city also has a half-cent transportation sales tax that has provided $5.7 million to $6.4 million a year since 2008.

Another committee, the Capital Improvement Sales Tax Oversight Committee, meets quarterly to review spending and projects to see that they are consistent with the plan agreed upon when voters approved the tax.

There was no discussion Monday about when the new task force would start meeting.

In other business, the council advanced a change in zoning at 2318 E. 20th St. Construction contractor Charlie Kuehn asked for the residential property to be changed to a designation as planned commercial for construction of an insurance office. City Planner Troy Bolander said the building that is proposed meets new design guidelines established by the city after the 2011 tornado to apply to redevelopment of the tornado-affected corridor.

Kuehn told the council that the architectural design of the building would resemble that of a residential building, and that a fence will be built to provide privacy to adjoining residential properties.

The council vote to advance the zoning request to final reading was 8-1, with Woolston abstaining, citing a financial interest in the property sale.

A six-month special-use permit for USA Metal Recycling, 2000 W. Seventh St., was advanced to final reading. A representative of the company, Tom Smith, said work to pave the scrap yard property will continue after electrical lines are installed to the company’s weigh scales. The paving is required by the permit to cut down on dust.

The council also authorized a housing study to be conducted at a cost of $14,900. That study is intended to determine how the housing market and inventory have been affected by the tornado and the recovery.

Training center

ENGINEERING WORK to plot the site for the new Public Safety Training Center at a cost of $119,100 was approved Monday by the City Council. The training center is to be built on land south of the Joplin Regional Airport.

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