Commission looks to extend county road tax

The funds would be used for building and preserving roads.
Sunday, April 29, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:49 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Voters in Boone County can expect to see an extension of a county roads tax on the ballot in November, said Presiding County Commissioner Ken Pearson. As it is set to expire at the end of September 2008, county officials say the half-cent sales tax is important to continuing the construction and maintenance of roads in the county.

Last year, revenues from that tax constituted 76 percent of the county Public Works Department’s budget, or about $11.7 million. The tax has generated around $86 million in revenue since 1998, said David Mink, head of the department.

The proposed extension of the tax comes as both Pearson and Mink say more and more of the revenue is being spent not just on construction but also on road maintenance.

“Roads that had been built early in the 10-year process need to be repaired,” Mink said.

Pearson said the county has a team of workers examining the condition of roads throughout the county to decide which areas need new roads.

“There are major projects not just in Columbia but in other cities where you need infrastructure,” Pearson said.

Part of figuring out what those projects will be will come from public discussion, Pearson said.

County commissioners, employees from the Public Works Department and representatives from various chambers of commerce in Boone County will be holding a strategic planning meeting at 7:45 a.m. Monday in the county commission chambers, Roger B. Wilson Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St.

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