Ballot issues get approval

bbashioum@demo-mo.comApril 5, 2013 

Voters across Cass County responded favorably to a series of municipal issues on the April 2 ballot.

Residents in Belton will soon see a spike in their water and sewer bills after voters elected the city to take out $28.4 million in bonds.

“It’s nice to see that they are confident that we can get these water and sewer improvements done,” Belton Public Works Director Jeff Fisher said.

Question 1, a $13.9 million plan to finance a new water tower and upgrade existing pump stations, passed with 66 percent support.

The second question on the ballot asked for almost $14.5 million in sewer system upgrades to meet new, stricter state and federal regulations, as well as improvements to the sewer pump station in an effort to reduce overflows. It passed with 65.7 support.

Residential water customers will see an increase of $12.50 in their monthly utility bills to cover the bond’s debt service. Commercial users would see their bills spike by $25.

While the two big ticket projects passed, bills may go up another $5 since voters rejected the proposed use tax by 60 percent, which would have generated $450,000 annually to cover a portion of Belton’s current water and sewer and overhead expenses.

Fisher said the city will evaluate the use tax proposal and may consider bringing the issue again to voters.

The city will be holding a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, to offer more information on the city’s plans and proposed rate increases in relation to the improvements.

Pleasant Hill voters said “yes” to their community improvement issue on their Tuesday ballot by approving a quarter-cent sales tax to cover the $2 million cost of building a new pool by 74 percent.

The city’s current aquatic center, built in 1977, can no longer be repaired.

The current proposal calls for the pool to be built in the present location. Crews will excavate the existing hole and reuse the foundation of the bathhouses.

“We’re looking forward and excited about getting this new pool in and having a quality facility for our citizens,” Parks and Facilities Director Bryan Nolte said.

City staff will now begin working on the finalized drawings for the facility.

Peculiar city leaders got the nod they were looking for in approving the annexation of 300 acres of uninhabited land so the city can put in an interchange that would connect at 211th Street in Cass County with 76 percent approval.

“This will definitely insure that development in and around the interchange will be controlled by the city...and for the businesses that relocate in and around the interchange, residents of Peculiar will see the benefits of sales tax and property tax from the economic development,” City Administrator Brad Ratliff said.

In 2009, Peculiar residents approved an $8 million bond as part a 50 percent cost-sharing deal offered by the Missouri Department of Transportation to fund a second interchange.

Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

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