April's municipal ballot will likely include a question about a quarter-cent sales tax to pay for parks maintenance and The Centre operation, and next week the city government will take the case for that tax to the voters.
On the agenda for tonight's Rolla City Council meeting (6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall) is a schedule for "neighborhood meetings to discuss park needs/proposed sales tax extension." Included are the dates, times and location for the meetings, including locations if the weather prohibits an outdoors meeting.
Here's the schedule as presented:
•Monday, Sept. 23, Wards 1 and 2: Good weather, SplashZone Pavilion; bad weather, The Centre.
• Tuesday, Sept. 24, Wards 3 and 4: Good weather, Green Acres Park Pavilion; bad weather, Carpenters Hall.
• Monday, Sept. 30, Wards 5 and 6; Good weather, Buehler Park pavilion; bad weather, chamber office.
• On Tuesday, Oct. 15, a wrap-up meeting will be held at The Centre. This meeting will be styled as an "open house" for all voters. It will include a report of the comments received at the ward/neighborhood meetings.
All ward/neighborhood meetings and the wrap-up meeting are scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m.
Up for discussion at the ward/neighborhood meetings will be the financial status of The Centre, the need for more money to perform maintenance and the need to replace or add equipment in the parks.
The half-cent sales tax used to pay off the bonds to build The Centre will expire at the end of this year. A couple of years ago, the council attempted to persuade voters to extend that tax permanently to pay for The Centre operation and to build and operate a senior citizens center.
Voters declined that opportunity, so the sales tax will "sunset" at the end of the year.
Since then, the city has combined the parks department with the recreation department (The Centre/SplashZone).
Now what has been talked about as a possibility for the April ballot is to ask voters to adopt a quarter-cent sales tax to be a permanent revenue stream for the new parks and recreation department.
In other business or discussion at tonight's council meeting:
• The ordinance adopting the city budget will be presented for final reading.
• Related to the budget will be the adoption of an ordinance to change the city code allowing a 10-cent increase in the sewer use fee. That fee will go from $4.40 per thousand gallons of water used to $4.50 per thousand gallons. For the average user, that will raise the monthly bill from $26.40 to $27. Purpose of the fee increase is to raise money to pay for federally mandated disinfection equipment at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. Construction is already underway for the work being paid for with a 20-year lease-purchase plan.
Page 2 of 2 - • Martina Baur will make a presentation on the trip several Rolla residents made to Sondershausen, Germany, which is Rolla's sister city.
• The council will appoint an employer delegate to the annual LAGERS meeting.
• A utility easement at the Rolla National Airport will be granted to Intercounty Electric.
• The council will close streets for the Oct. 19 Downtown Arts and Crafts Festival.
• The council also close streets for the Celebrations of Nations parade Sept. 29.
• Bids for a paving project at the airport will be considered.
• Roger Brown will speak to the council about concerns regarding a damaged house at 103 Steeplechase Road.
• No executive (closed to the public) session is planned.