City administrator asks for more infrastructure funds
For the second time this month, the De Soto City Administrator Gerald Cooper asked the city council to barrow moeny for needed infrastructure improvements.
Last Thursday, Cooper suggested that the city use two-year notes to finance $465,000 of street improvements this year. Earlier in the meeting, the council approved a 2001 project list that includes:
Chip and seal paving for half of the streets in old-town De Soto.
Chip and seal portions of Cedar Creek Road.
Road base improvements and chip and seal for 95th Street from the Corliss Road intersection east one mile.
Road base improvements and chip and seal to 87th Street from Penner Avenue to the cemetery's west boundary.
Grading and drainage improvement on 95th Street and Cedar Creek Road.
Realignment and improvements at the south Y intersection.
The city has $380,000 in its excise tax fund and $113,000 in fuel tax revenue, Cooper told the council. But the city administrator warned that draining the accounts to pay for this year's street improvements would leave the city with no emergency reserve.
Rather than place the city at that risk, Cooper suggested money in the two street accounts be placed in a reserve account and that this year's improvements be financed with two-year notes. If the city isn't forced to use the reserve account, it can be used to pay off the notes in two years, he said.
"Since we can borrow money at 4 percent plus fees and invest it at over 5 percent, the net cost of bond money will be negligible," Cooper wrote in a letter to the council.
Earlier this month, the council approved Cooper's suggestion that the city use $200,000 in short-term notes to finance the construction of a waterline that will connect the city's water distribution system to the water plant at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. That debt is to be rolled over into a revenue bond once Intervet Inc. starts purchasing water from the city.
Cooper suggested the city could save money if Marty Nohe, the city's bond consultant, packaged the short-term street improvement bonds with the waterline debt. Nohe will bring a bond package to the council's June 7 meeting for its approval, Cooper said.
Judging from the council's response last Thursday, it appears the council will approve Cooper's proposal. Councilman Tim Maniez received assurance from Cooper and city engineer Mike Brungardt that the estimates for this year's street improvements were sound and that the city wasn't obligated to undertake any other major street improvement projects for the next three years.
In addition to the projects listed above, the city council approved a $38,000 bid to realign and resurface the south Y intersection. The work will be performed as part of this summer's improvement to the Lexington Trails Middle School parking lot and was included as an alternate bid J.R. Dunn included with its bid on that project to the school district.
Brungardt said the realignment would eliminate the long Penner Aveune southbound access lane to Lexington Avenue. Instead, a south-turn lane will be added to the intersection east of Lexington Trails.
To further improve safety at the intersection, lanes on Lexington will be widened and the height of the curb will be reduced, Brungardt said.
The upgrade to the middle school's parking lot includes a retention pond and other features that should address frequent flooding along Lexington Avenue
south of the school, Brungardt said. The new drainage system is designed to accommodate a 50-year flood, one that has a 2-percent chance of occurring in a given year.
Mayor Dave Anderson pointed out that the city currently doesn't require permits for parking lot improvements, although city staff must spend time reviewing those plans.
During his mayoral campaign, Anderson called for a review of the fees the city charges developers. Anderson promised the council he would have a fee schedule for it to consider in the coming months. Permits for parking lot and drainage system improvements should be included in that review, he said.