City Council to consider forming transportation district
MONROE - After keeping the idea on the back-burner for years, the city may establish a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) in order to raise funds for street improvements and maintenance.
A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 10 at City Council.
Mayor Robert Zimmerman wants to impose a one-tenth or two-tenths of one percent sales tax that would raise between $290,000 and $580,000 a year for streets, public works director Brad Feilberg said.
That would be enough for an “adequate” street maintenance program, Feilberg said. The city currently is spending less than $100,000 on streets.
If the council establishes a TBD, then council members also will serve as the TBD board of directors.
The board would operate independently from the council.
If formed, the board’s first task would be to identify a funding source, project list and payment options. The TBD could choose to purchase bonds instead of imposing a tax, Feilberg said.
“The mayor indicated he wanted to go to an election in November to increase the sales tax somewhere between one tenth and two tenths of a percent, but it hasn’t been decided yet. That’s what they have to talk about, that’s the board’s decision,” Feilberg said.
State law allows transportation districts to impose a nonvoter-approved $20 vehicle license fee; a voter-approved sales tax up to two tenths of one percent; a voter-approved one-year property tax levy.
The city has tens of thousands of dollars worth of road and intersection improvements that need to be done, Feilberg said, and could easily spend about $1 million on road maintenance annually if it were available.
At the top of the list of priorities could be an east-west connector road created by extending Tjerne Place from Chain Lake Road to Woods Creek Road.
“It would take some pressure off U.S. 2 so all of the people going to the shopping areas don’t have to get out on Highway 2,” Feilberg said.
A couple of traffic signals, as well as extending Hill Street to intersect with Blueberry Lane also top the list, he said.
The city has been able to complete some of the street improvements on its list, partially due to federal grants.
“We don’t have very much money for maintenance, there’s not much there, but we got North Kelsey and U.S. 2 and Chain Lake and U.S. 2 improvement grants,” Feilberg said. This summer’s Main Street/Old Owen Road/U.S. 2 is another grant funded project,but those are funded by federal money, the side streets don’t score as well.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published March 21, 2012