Task force recommends options for paying for road repairs

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | 10:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The City Council discussed a recommendation report at its pre-council meeting Tuesday night, urging the city to increase property and sales taxes and add new fees in an effort to deal with the shortage of funding for building and maintaining roads.

According to the report, submitted by the Infrastructure Task Force, there is an estimated average annual shortfall of nearly $14 million in construction of city streets and sidewalks.

According to the report, the following methods are recommended to secure additional revenue sources to close the gap:

  • The Transportation Sales Tax should be reserved only for streets and sidewalks projects. It should no longer fund airport and bus system.
  • The airport and bus systems should be funded by a 10-year general obligation bond, made possible by a property tax increase of no more than 20 cents for capital investment.
  • The current Capital Improvements Tax should be extended and the rate doubled for streets and sidewalks.
  • A use tax should be implemented, which would be collected and distributed by the state.
  • Collect an annual registration fee for vehicles, scooters, trailers, motorcycles, RV's, etc. If the fee were $10, it would generate more than $1.3 million annually for the city.
  • Collect a bicycle license fee for all bicycles sold. If a $10 fee were implemented, it would bring in about $550,000 annually.

Phebe LaMar-Emig, chairwoman of the Infrastructure Task Force who presented the report, said there is a necessity in charging bikers some fee because the city has constructed many bicycle lanes and bikers should pay for the service.

“I don’t have a problem with the fact we constructed them, but we constructed them at the expense of the city, which has no way to maintain them,” LaMar-Emig said.

Mayor Bob McDavid said, “Citizens are speaking about infrastructure, and speaking loudly.”

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Paul Allaire July 6, 2011 | 10:38 a.m.

Didn't they just double the rates for all the parking meters?

Didn't they just spend 20 million to build a parking gargage before agreeing to build another one for a private hotel?

Didn't the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT give the city 22 MILLION dollars to build trails and ENCOURAGE people to bicycle?

Phebe, the city hasn't done squat to build anything with that money. The city has made a waste of it. The city has dragged it's feet allowing every inbred moron the maximum capability to make it's voice heard, a voice expressing horror and dismay at the fact that one thin dime be spent on anything other than crumbling pavement for automobiles. Service? Really? Service this.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 6, 2011 | 10:47 a.m.

If the trails were for bikes they would have PAVEMENT on them. Maybe the city needs to put a fee on every pair of running shoes that are sold.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield July 6, 2011 | 12:16 p.m.

So it's possible that property taxes will increase twice within the next year: once for infrastructure and again for schools.

As long as the city has programs such as Percent for Art and positions such as a sustainability director, we can be certain that the council isn't serious about reducing spending.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox July 6, 2011 | 3:53 p.m.

A registration fee, for toys? Mandatory registration with a fee is a tax pure and simple, put it to a public vote and see how far you get.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 6, 2011 | 7:12 p.m.

"Collect a bicycle license fee for all bicycles sold. If a $10 fee were implemented, it would bring in about $550,000 annually."

Wait a minute. This is saying that 55,000 bicycles are sold in Columbia per year? I'm not sure there are 55,000 bicycles in Columbia, period. Where did this $550,000 number come from?


(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 6, 2011 | 7:25 p.m.

"Mayor Bob McDavid said, “Citizens are speaking about infrastructure, and speaking loudly.”"

NO MORE PARKING GARAGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There. Proved him right.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox July 6, 2011 | 10:08 p.m.

Have to agree, No more parking garages, last I read in the Missourian it was costing more to light the new garage then it generated in revenue. So why are we building a new one five blocks north?

We have to get rid of this city council, we just can't afford them.

(Report Comment)
Yue Xi July 6, 2011 | 10:26 p.m.

Mr Foecking,

I'm the author of this story. Thank you for raising this question.

The original Infrastructure Task Force report wrote: "A fee imposed on the sale of bicycles seems a reasonable, though minor source of funding for the cleaning,painting and other maintenance of these amenities. If all bicycles were registered for $10 each, it would generate approximately $ 550,000 in annual revenue."

We will do our best to keep our readers posted about the latest development of this recommendation report and the suggested bike fee.


(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 6, 2011 | 10:57 p.m.

I see that the city has 29 tennis courts. The maintenance on that must be fairly expensive. Possibly we should put an excise tax on the sale of all tennis balls. I see also that there are frisbee golf courses. So we need to start taxing frisbees. And there are dog parks. Additionally some people use the trails to walk their dogs. So we need to start charging a fee on all the bags of dog food that are sold. There are also soccer fields and football fields and softball fields. So we need to have a tax on your balls...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 6, 2011 | 11:02 p.m.

Additionally, there is a public swimming facility at Steven's Lake Park. This is very expensive. So we should be charging a fee on swimming trunks. If you don't like it, you can go jump in a lake...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 7, 2011 | 11:01 a.m.

I know that I've just been tearing the HELL out of those roads with my bike...

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin July 7, 2011 | 12:37 p.m.

I can't support all these new taxes/fees knowing that too much of that money has been spent in ways voters never intended, such as former city manager Ray Beck's taking of $700,000 per year out of the city's General Fund to finance the new city hall. And that's just the beginning.

More here:

OUTRAGEOUS OUTLAYS: Local government office space, parking garage tabs hit $75 million!

In just 5 years, city, county, and school board spending soars on bureaucrat-driven space

(Report Comment)

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