WP asks voters to renew 32-year sales tax to fund city projects

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BY LORI AMOS

The primary election will take place on August 2, and in addition to the candidates to choose from, City Administrator Sam Anselm reminds West Plains residents that they will also have a choice to make regarding a ballot measure asking voters to extend the capital improvement of half a cent of the city. sales tax.

Voters passed the original sales tax in 1990.

The sales tax has since been renewed twice, and its funds have been used to build the Civic Center, the current library, numerous streets, sidewalks and improvements, and parks and recreational facilities.

“We also use the proceeds of this tax to equip city personnel with vehicles and equipment for police, fire, streets and parks,” Anselm said.

The city council approved its capital improvement plan in March, detailing the projects the city plans to fund using this sales tax.

“We have several unfunded projects not on this list that push several years beyond the five-year timeline of this plan,” Anselm said. “We’re hoping voter approval of the sales tax will allow us to plan further into the future, so we can align some of our resources to support some of our capital improvements.”

Under the measure, the capital improvement sales tax will apply to receipts from all taxable retail sales or retail services in the city that are subject to state taxation for the purpose of fund capital improvements, including the cost of maintaining and operating capital improvements through sales tax revenue.

According to state law, the tax will be imposed on all sales of water, electricity, electric power, and natural, artificial, or propane gas, wood, coal, or heating oil for household use. uniquely.

PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED BY SALES TAX ON IMPROVEMENTS

All-inclusive park

The city is installing new play equipment at Butler Children’s Park, intended to be accessible to all children of all abilities. The all-inclusive playground will be wheelchair accessible and encourage sensory play for children with special needs.

The town received a grant from the Land Water Conservation Fund to cover $250,000 of the cost of the playground.

City crews will build a nearly half-mile concrete pathway around and through the park as part of its match for the grant. In-kind labor and sales tax proceeds from capital improvements will serve as consideration for the project.

The project is expected to cost $500,000 and be completed this year.

Fire facility upgrades

The city plans to upgrade the concrete deck at Fire Station 1, aka Kissinger Street Fire Department Headquarters, and turn the gravel at the Girdley Street Training Center into concrete.

Generators will be purchased and installed for Fire Stations 2 and 3 to provide backup power in the event of a power outage. These stations, respectively, are located on St. Louis Street and Bruce Smith Parkway at Southern Hills Plaza.

This project is expected to cost $85,000 and be completed in 2024.

Fire Radio Upgrade

The city plans to purchase new radio equipment for better coordination among emergency personnel.

The new equipment is expected to cost $300,000 and be purchased by 2026.

Town Hall Improvements

The city also plans to fund improvements to City Hall with money generated from the capital improvement sales tax.

Improvements to City Hall include project and asset management, information technology maintenance, financial software, and a multi-service vehicle replacement plan.

The project is expected to cost $7.6 million.

JMB Park

The city plans to build a trail around the perimeter of JMB Park on the BB Highway, which will involve clearing a 20-foot trail off the property line, allowing cyclists to move around the 76-acre property and acting as a firewall for the maintenance move. forward.

The project is expected to cost $200,000 and be completed in 2026.

Self Contained Breathing Apparatus

The city plans to purchase 30 spare fire-fighting self-contained breathing apparatus packs consisting of a harness, face mask and cylinder.

The city also plans to purchase 30 spare cylinders for self-contained breathing apparatus to have on hand.

Self-contained breathing apparatus is an essential piece of personal protective equipment used by firefighters.

This project will be funded by the city’s capital improvement sales tax and is expected to cost $255,000 and be completed this year.

Tuk Playground at Gene Jones Park

Tuk’s Playground at Gene Jones Park on Aid Avenue is a project the sales tax has previously funded.

The city completed work on the park in June 2022.

Staff installed new fences for small and large dog areas and new play equipment.

The project cost $23,830.

Anyone interested in knowing how the city plans to spend the sales tax money on capital improvements can Click here.

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