Final street project using special sales tax approved

Staff writer

As the one percent sales tax designated for local street maintenance and improvement gets ready to expire at the end of the year, Peabody City Council wrestled Monday evening with choices for spending the money that has built up in the street fund. By law, the money may not be applied to any other department and the sales tax is collected only for a 10-year period unless reinstated by voters after its expiration.

Jim Ralston and Dan Heise from APAC of Kansas presented figures for improvements to the most recently upgraded street projects — Locust, Plum, 8th, 6th, and Pine sts.

The APAC bid for applying the asphalt surface, four inches of base patching, shoulder rock, and some other small repairs is $247,887. Money in the special street fund is $220,000 with the balance expected by year’s end.

“When these projects were completed, the scope of the project did not include additional asphalt surfacing,” Ralston said. “The plan then was to return and get that done at a future date. With expiration of the special tax for your street projects, that time is now.”

Applying the three-inch asphalt surface and making the other minor repairs will give added life to streets in good repair.

“It makes sense to do it now rather that walk away and let them deteriorate,” Ralston said.

Council members discussed alternatives such as seeking grants, holding the accumulated street funds for other street projects, or going with Ralston’s recommendation.

Council members Megan Gallucci and Janice Woodruff were absent, but members Steve Rose, Tom Spencer, and Travis Wilson voted to approve the project.

In other business:

  • Closing “A” Street to improve the crossing intersection for Union Pacific Railroad at the south end of Peabody, was again on the agenda. Reports by mayor Larry Larsen and city clerk Stephanie Lago of conversations with different UPRR officials indicated conflicting information and the council waived a decision once again. Lago was instructed to request an official presentation from UPRR representatives at the next council meeting. Council members are concerned that closing the “A” St. crossing could put Peabody residents in harm’s way if trains were stopped, blocking crossings on both the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks. Emergency vehicles would not be able to go south out of town without going to 9th St. or US-50 and then to a southbound road.
  • Council members entered two executive sessions to discuss personnel issues. On return to regular session after the first, the council approved paying Travis Davis for his final five days of unused vacation. On return to open session after the second executive session, the council approved advertising for an employee for maintenance work in Public Works and authorized director Ronnie Harms to seek part-time help while waiting to fill the position.
  • Mayor Larsen made annual appointments of non-elected personnel and heads of standing committees to serve during 2017. Those serving for 2016 were re-appointed.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2016