Voters who go to the polls on November 6 will find the Storm water and Parks Sales Tax Initiative. This initiative will add one-half cents to the current 7.725 percent sales tax that is currently in place. The intended one-half cent sales tax is intended to help fund the required waste water and storm water improvements, developments on the Kemper Campus and fund new ball fields and recreational needs.
City Administrator Irl Tessendorf said that the current city council would like to see the city have money on hand to pay for a project instead of borrowing it.
The current sales tax of 7.725 percent would be raised to 8.225 percent. This would be similar to the sales tax of Moberly at this time but will be less than Hannibal who has a 8.6 percent sales tax.
The most pressing and costly project the city will have to complete will have to do with the waste water facility and also the way the storm water is drained out of the city. The project will be a three step project starting with updates to the inflow and infiltration system. Second, the discharge point locations will be updated and finally, being the most costly, completion of a new plant or expansion of the current facility. If the half cent sales tax would not to pass then the average Boonville resident sewage charge would increase by 10 percent a year instead of a steady increase of three percent each year. This project is not due to be completed until around 2020 and will also make the facility DNR (Department of Natural Resources) compliant. Tessendorf said that when there is a large rain event, the system is overloaded with the run-off. In an average day, the waste water facility handles a little over a million gallons of water but when a large rain event occurs the amount increases to well over five million gallons of water. In these extreme cases, Tessendorf said that the management of the diluting process is much harder. Tessendorf said once a study is completed to define the best avenue for the waste water facility, either by diluting the waste in the Missouri River or by emptying it into Lilly Branch with a much better facility, will be very costly.
The Kemper redevelopment project will also be included on the sales tax. Tessendorf said that tax money will be used to help or match funds for any future developers of the Kemper Campus. The idea is to preserve the historic aspect of the Kemper campus, provide a venue for leader development, serve Boonville's intellectual, cultural and recreational needs, provide learning resources in centers and laboratories for individual workforce development and to serve as a model for innovational that attracts investment in the community. The economic impact so far, according to a presentation by the city, states that 50 full/part time jobs were created when State Fair Community College opened up a satellite campus at Kemper. It also states that a rehabbed Kemper Campus can be a vibrant community center.
Boonville Parks will benefit from the sales tax with improvments to current parks and the building of a baseball-softball multi-use complex. Tessendorf said that this project is still many years away and will only be funded once funds are available for the waste water plant and the revitalization of the Kemper Campus. The proposed ball complex will be located around the old Kemper football field and is intended to help bring tourism and economic benefits to Boonville.
With the waste water project being the most timely, deadlines have not been set for the other projects.