Council approves extensive street improvement plan
The De Soto City Council approved a $176,000 street improvement plan for this year that City Engineer Mike Brungardt said would start demonstrating the benefit of the city's excise tax to residents.
The plan alters the city's rotation schedule for overlaying paved streets with a layer of gravel and asphalt a process known as chip seal. That suggestion was made after Brungardt and Street Superintendent Ron Creason viewed downtown streets. About half the old-town streets on this year's chip-seal schedule could be adequately maintained with sealing cracks, Brungardt said.
"We came to the decision that not all of those streets needed chip sealing this year," the city engineer said. "It's a matter of prioritizing things."
The city could better use revenue available for street improvements if it cut back on scheduled chip sealing in the old-town area and addressed streets with pressing needs in outlying and newly annexed sections, Brungardt said.
The city engineer's plan would make use of $100,000 from gas-tax revenue the city received in 2000 and 2001 and $76,000 in the excise-tax revenue.
"We feel it is time to spend some of those dollars so residents can see what they are getting from the excise tax," he said.
Projects Brungardt recommended and their estimated costs are:
Chip seal and crack seal old-town streets, $33,282.
Grading and drainage improvements to 95th Street, east of Corliss Road to the Cedar Creek bridge and Cedar Creek Road, south of 86th Street to Kansas Highway 10. Brungardt estimated the cost of those improvements to be $39,381.
Chip seal approximately .33 miles of Cedar Creek Road south of 86th Street, $5,850.
Roadbed improvements and chip seal of 95th Street from Corliss Road to K-10, $74,704.
Roadbed improvements and chip seal of 87th Street from Lexington Avenue to the east boundary of the cemetery, $22,688.
In the past, the city has paved gravel streets with chip seal with no preparation of the roadbed, Brungardt said. The consequences can be seen on Waverly Road, where traffic and weather quickly broke down the new pavement.
"I would recommend we never do that again," the city engineer said.
Brungardt conceded his plan didn't address all the needs in the city. Again, he said it was an attempt to improve those streets that require a great deal of the street crew's time and resources.
After Brungardt outlined his plan, Councilman John Taylor expressed concerns it ignored the needs of old-town De Soto. There are a number of downtown streets, including 84th Street, that need complete repaving and roadbed improvements, he said.
While Brungardt and City Administrator Gerald Cooper didn't disagree, they said the improvements Taylor suggested were too expensive.
"It costs $100,000 to pave anything, and all the rest of your streets are going to pot," Cooper said. "If you want to go to that level of improvement, you're going to have to find another revenue source a bond issue or a benefit district."
By ordinance, the excise tax can't be applied to neighborhood streets, but only those designated arterial streets, Cooper said.
The city's Community Development Block Grant money is being used for needs in the old-town De Soto, he said.
Taylor joined his fellow council members in approving Brungardt's plan.
There is currently $167,000 in the excise tax fund, and Intervet Inc. will pay another $198,000 in excise taxes. Of that, $110,000 is earmarked for a joint project with Johnson County to improve 95th Street between Kill Creek and Corliss roads.
Brungardt's report noted $70,000 would be needed to extend 91st Street to the Intervet site, and $75,000 for a traffic light at 91st Street and Lexington Avenue.