The Farmington City Council approved a first and second reading for an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the construction of a J-turn intersection during regular session on Thursday.
Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers began communications with the Missouri Department of Transportation in August of last year — noting the construction of a new facility with 700 jobs near the intersection of Perrine Road and U.S Highway 67 would cause serious traffic concerns for that area.
Fast forward to Thursday, where council approved the $1.7 million project for the intersection improvements. The city will pay $200,000, with the grant from MoDOT in the amount of $1.2 million, along with $103,000 from the Southeast District of MoDOT.
The project will go out for bid in March.
Beavers applauded the cooperation of the county to approve and authorize for the portion of county land in the project to MoDOT for the speed in the time from the project was discussed to this moment.
“I think we did the right things. We hired a consultation to come in and evaluate that intersection. We made a case to Missouri Department of Transportation local district office and also to the state office in Jefferson City. Everybody concurred with the need — Missouri Department of Economic Development did. The county cooperated with us in supporting that project also.
“In about the course of five to six months, we’re going to have this (project) out for bid,” he said. “To do that in the transportation world, in the state world, is a great accomplishment and demonstrates a lot of cooperation on a lot of different levels to make it happen. From my seat here in this game, I really appreciate everyone’s assistance in getting this done.”
Mayor Larry Forsythe commended Beavers for his work in getting the project off the ground.
In other business, Beavers told the council he and finance director Michelle Daniel are expected to attend a meeting with other city leaders on Friday regarding municipalities placing a “use tax” proposals on the ballot for the collection of internet sales tax.
“If you look nationwide, there are a lot of local municipalities that are suffering because internet sales have shifted so much away from your sales tax growth,” he said, noting news reports of major retailers such as Sears and Kmart closing brick and mortar stores.
In Missouri, state legislation was passed in 2016 allowing the state to collect state sales tax on merchandise sold on the internet. Individual cities, however, are required to put the issue before voters to collect the sales tax on internet purchases.
“In Farmington, we’ve been an exception to that general rule of people seeing a decline in sales taxes because, strategically, some of the things that we’ve done … we’ve still experienced tremendous growth — even during the recession,” he said. “Our sales taxes were stable … they weren’t growing much, but we were never seeing them fall off.”
The city has more than one sales tax up for reauthorization in the next few years, which include the one-fourth cent sales transportation and parks and storm water sale tax in 2020, as well as the half-cent capital improvements sales tax in 2023.
“I just don’t know that — in our position — asking the voters for that additional layer on internet sales is in our best interest for Farmington, but that’s a decision for council to make,” he said. “We’re going to discuss it with the other communities.”
He added the administrative services committee of council will discuss the issue as well to gauge council feedback.
In other business, the council approved a resolution renaming Jaycee Park on Perrine Road to Veterans Park. Mayor Forsythe noted it was his decision to bring this name change, noting the Jaycees are no longer an active organization in the community and his wish to honor those who serve the country — both active and retired military. Read more about the change in the Jan. 18 issue of the Farmington Press.
Council also approved an amendment to the municipal code regarding alcohol-related traffic ordinance violations adding a ban for passengers in a vehicle to have an open container. First readings by title only were held on a final record plat for property at 120 Holly Tree Lane, as well as the designation of 102 W. Columbia St. as historic property.
In reports, council approved the hiring of Kris Kappler as a police officer.
Council next meets for regular session at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 22.