The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published January 22, 2020

Lake Ozark seeking $6,000,000 for transportation


LAKE OZARK – City residents will have the chance in April to approve the city going in debt up to $6,000,000 to fund transportation improvement projects.

The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved placing the measure on the ballot. The wording for the ballot approved by the board is:

“Shall the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri issue revenue bonds not to exceed $6,000,000.00 for the purpose of improving the City's transportation infrastructure system, and the principal and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable from revenues derived by the City from the City's Use Tax, and available general revenue funds derived from property taxes and sales taxes?”

The aldermen moved forward with this in response to public input and findings of a recent Road Assessment conducted by Cochran Engineering.

“The street assessment showed the city has about $6 million in needed improvements,” City Administrator Dave Van Dee said, “and it doesn’t do us much good to spend time discussing how to pay for improvements if we don’t have approval by the public to incur the debt.”

The permission to go into debt is needed since the city was denied a matching Governor’s Cost Share Grant application for $3 million for transportation projects.

Cochran Engineering conducted a detailed assessment in the summer of 2019 regarding the condition of city streets. The company outlined numerous options the city can consider but found that the city’s current transportation budget cannot begin to fund the necessary improvements.

The main source of income for the city’s transportation budget is the transportation sales tax – one-half of one percent. The city’s transportation budget funds the entire department and covers fixed costs.

These fixed costs mean there is next to no room in the budget for capital improvements for streets, according to the report. That resulted in the city seeking approval from the residents to borrow funds to cover the improvements.

Cochran’s report also stated that the city streets will continue to deteriorate without finding additional sources of funds for the improvements and Bagnell Dam Blvd is the main problem.

Bagnell Dam Blvd, receives the most traffic and according to the city, the most complaints.

According to Cochran’s report, the 3.3 miles of road is in fair shape but is deteriorating and requires a maintenance plan. The report recommends the existing road surface be milled and then re-paved at three inches instead of two, to provide the best driving surface and longevity.

In addition, epoxy would be used for striping rather than paint and a contingency for unanticipated construction issues was raised from 10 percent to 25 percent.

If voters approve the debt and the city follows Cochran’s recommendation, Bagnell Dam Blvd. will cost roughly $2.9 million.

An improvement plan specifically for Bagnell Dam Blvd. is broken into six phases that will total the $2.9 million. This is about $1 million higher than the original Cochran Engineering estimate.

The phases are:
• Phase 1 - Bagnell Dam to School Road: Milling and overlay, aggregate base repair, overlay parking.
• Phase 2 - School Road to HH traffic signal: Milling and overlay, drainage modifications.
• Phase 3 - HH Intersection: Milling and overlay, aggregate base repair, intersection striping and repair.
• Phase 4 - HH Intersection to Arrowhead Estates Road: Milling and overlay
• Phase 5 - Arrowhead Estates Road to Old Highway 54 traffic signal: Milling and overlay, drainage modifications.
• Phase 6 - Old Highway 54 traffic signal to Highway 242 traffic signal: Micro-surfacing.

Other Cochran Engineering Road Assessment findings in their report:
• A 20-year program for citywide street improvement shows costs range from $5.2 million to $7.2 million, depending on which improvement option the city chooses.
• The most common complaint is that streets are in poor condition, which can be detrimental to the overall road system since considerable time and funds are spent on that type of roads. Consequently, roads in better condition are often ignored and they in turn begin to deteriorate.
• Due to a limited budget amount and equipment, the city’s maintenance is relatively limited. That maintenance includes snow removal, mowing right-of-way, drainage repair and gravel road maintenance

Voters will choose whether the city goes into debt to fix the streets on April 7.

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