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City plans improvements despite flat revenues

Sales taxes have been flat for the past seven years, but the city will still have several major capital improvements on its agenda for next year, according to the draft proposal of next year’s budget.

According to the figures, sales tax will contribute an estimated $3.3 million to the estimated $7.5 million general fund.

Revenues from utilities are projected to be about $25 million, the Civic Center complex fund about $2 million, and there’s $765,000 in grant money coming in for the airport.

“It’s a good budget for the city, there are a lot of capital improvements, which people like seeing,” city administrator Greg Beavers said. “We are not making any changes to staffing levels in the city and we’re doing a tremendous amount of road improvements.

“We are replacing equipment for city patrol cars and so forth. We have to maintain a good fleet. And there are some parks projects with some nice enhancements.”

The largest single improvement project will be the Columbia/Liberty Street project, which will affect a number of homeowners along those routes. Temporary construction easements will be sought, and existing sidewalks removed. The new sidewalks will be in the existing right of way, but some driveways may have to go beyond that.

There will be a public hearing from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at the firehouse to show how the driveway entrances will change for each home. Homeowners are encouraged to stop by any time during that period to review the plans and ask questions about the $2.1 million project.

The designs were done by MoDOT engineers, who are also doing the road work. The city’s portion of cost is $600,000, and they are responsible for the sidewalks. Once the work is completed, the city will be taking on the maintenance of the route so they can control truck traffic.

A number of issues will be corrected by the work, including a better alignment of Black Knight Drive and Vernon Avenue, which serves as the entrance for the Farmington Correctional Center.

Columbia street will be repaved from Westmount Drive to Main Street and Liberty from Main Street to Franklin. Sidewalks, curb and guttering and storm water drainage are to be installed form Westmount Drive back to First street.

There will be even more improvements, Beavers pointed out, if voters decide to support a Nov. 5 ballot measure extending the capital improvement sales tax.

City officials have proposed using about $6.5 million of the funds that would be generated to construct a new and larger library.

The remaining funds would be used for civic center improvements, replacement of fire department equipment, renovations of the police department, sports field improvements, walking trails.

First readings were given to the following items:

• A special use permit for the St. Paul Lutheran to operate a school in a C2 zone. Next month the council will be shown a replat and a PUD for the site, which is in the Old Carpet One building near Parkland Gymnastics.

• An ordinance amending the minimum land use requirements for a public or private school. The old requirement was for 20 acres plus an additional acre for a certain level of students. Planning and Zoning decided that was an unrealistic expectation.

• An ordinance increasing electric rates an average 9 percent for residential customers. Rates will still remain below the average monthly rate that Ameren UE charges for an average residential customer.

• An ordinance approving and adopting the amended budget for fiscal year 2012/13.

It was reported that estimates for underground electric lines on Liberty Street from Washington to Main have been received. The costs have jumped from $200,000 to $600,000. The project is being shelved for now.

Second readings were given for ordinances changing the zoning of 701 Kansas to commercial, annexing the Harrington trust property which fronts Black Knight Drive accepting the dedication of a part of a street right of way.

Renée Jean is the Managing Editor for the Farmington Press and a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at (573) 756-8928 or at

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