Faced with the possibility of public opposition to proposed parks and roads taxes, the Columbia City Council discussed ways to cut the life span of two of the proposed measures at a work session Tuesday.
The potential cuts could drop the proposed extension of a one-eighth-cent sales tax for parks to $12 million from $20 million by reducing the tax’s duration from eight years to five years. The portion of the tax set aside for a permanent farmers market and an ice skating rink would remain.
Tuesday marked the last round of discussions before the November ballot issues are presented to the public at a hearing scheduled for Monday. The council agreed that although it would formally present the eight-year proposal at its Monday meeting, they expect to settle for the five-year plan, which would then need voter approval in November.
Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton said that because the city hasn’t committed to any park spending for more than five years, the tax doesn’t need support any longer than that.
The council also prepared for the possibility of public resistance to a proposed new one-eighth-cent sales tax for road projects by discussing plans that could be shuffled if that tax’s duration must be reduced.
City staff members presented council members new plans reflecting a cut in the proposed tax’s duration from 10 years to five years. They suggested reducing the amount of work planned for St. Charles Road and eliminating a proposed project on Clark Lane. Hutton said he would like to keep the St. Charles Road project, and others suggested dropping a portion of the improvements planned for Scott Boulevard between Vawter School Road and the MKT Trail instead.
The council also discussed reducing the planned funding for a stretch of Louisville Drive from about $1.75 million to $1 million.
Missourian staff writer Brian Hamman contributed to this report.