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Posted on: February 16, 2016
City of Siloam Springs

3/8 Cent Sales Tax Extension on the March 1 Ballot

 

On March 1 a 3/8 cent sales tax extension will be on the ballot. In the past 10 years, this money has gone to utility capital improvements- namely in the Electric Department and the Water/Water Service Department. The new proposed 50/50 use would be quality of life improvements and utility capital improvements. Early voting began February 16.

The 3/8 cent tax was originally approved by voters in 2006.

This is NOT a NEW TAX. This WILL NOT RAISE taxes.

Previous use: utility improvement- electric and water/wastewater projects

  • New transmission loop (which gave the City backup power options)
  • Building the Country Club Road Substation (saved nearly $2 Million by doing this work in-house)
  • Rebuilding/replacing substations (utilizing existing equipment to complete projects)
  • Painting and maintenance of water tanks
  • 4,935 Meter change outs (helps identify water loss and improves efficiency)

Substation work:
• Added oil containment at all substations – Southwest, Country Club Road, Lincoln, Moss
• Laid fiber to connect transformers and relay panels for substation monitoring. This allows for quick troubleshooting during problems.
• Installed circuit at Lincoln Substation - allows more capacity (Lincoln substation serve the hospital, Walmart, etc.)
• Demolished North Substation because it was old and had served its time
• Built a state of the art, massive, large capacity Country Club Road Substation (serves La-Z-Boy, Gates, etc., north residents)
• Replaced the transformer at the Southwest Substation, refurbished the other transformer at the Southwest Substation
• Added capacity at the Southwest substation

Proposed New Allocation:
50/50 split for utility capital improvements and quality of life improvements
From 2006-2014 this 3/8 cent sales tax has generated approximately $8.94 Million.
The estimated 10 year total projection for this existing tax is approximately $13.7 Million

Proposed upcoming projects for 3/8 tax use:

Utility Improvement Projects:

  • Moss substation improvements
  • Transmission line upgrades
  • Country Club Road substation feeder for future development
  • Line extensions (extend current electric lines and add capacity and capabilities)

Quality of Life Projects
4 Categories
- Downtown Improvements (street diet, downtown trees, lighting, sidewalk improvements)
- Park Improvements (New Library site, Twin Springs Park, Lovers Lane)
- Sidewalk and Trail Improvements (sidewalk and trail connections)
- Facility Improvements (Aquatic Center upgrades)
Note: Sidewalk improvements can be defined as adding sidewalk in areas where there are not currently sidewalks, adding additions to create connections, creating wider sidewalks to become ADA compliant, repairing sidewalks damaged by roots and weather.

Examples of projects we'd like to accomplish in the near future for quality of life

Improvements to Lovers Lane:
The City looks to rehab the entire "Lovers Lane" structure/trail/sidewalk including the hand rail, steps, side walk, damaging tree roots, etc.

New Library Site Improvements:

  • Amphitheatre
  • Stage
  • Sound Equipment
  • Built in seating
  • Booths for Farmers Market
  • Splash Pad (summer season)
  • Ice Rink (winter season)
  • Unit structure for equipment and for winter rentals
  • Lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Improvements to parking lot south of new Public Library
  • Flat/graded green space
  • Sidewalk improvements

Currently there is NO funding source for quality of life projects.

sales tax extension ballot sample

Therefore, these projects have to compete with other capital needs during the budgeting process. These "lower priority", "nice to have" projects tend to continue to get put on the backburner for more immediate need, vital projects. Many of the quality of life projects, such as sidewalk improvements and park improvements, have been on the wish list for many years, but continue to get cut from the capital needs list.

The Board of Directors and City staff will work together to prioritize quality of life projects and will use this tax revenue to match grants and other sources of funding; therefore allowing us to be the best financial stewards as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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