1/4-cent sales tax proposals for capitol improvement, transportation projects

Palmyra city officials are optimistic about two sales tax proposals on the April 2018 ballot that would provide funding for capitol improvement projects and transportation projects throughout the city.

City Attorney Chase Hickman delivered the first readings of the bills outlining each proposal for the April ballot — one 1/4-cent capitol improvement sales tax and one 1/4-cent transportation sales tax. Mayor Loren Graham said he hopes voters approved the taxes, which he said would effectively replace the recently-repealed 1/2-cent sales tax for improvements to U.S. Highway 36 and Interstate 72. But the new sales taxes would allow city crews to tackle specific projects within the Flower City, beginning with a citywide storm water project.

Graham said that a May meeting between Palmyra citizens, city officials and representatives from engineering firm Klingner and Associates helped identify multiple areas throughout the city that need work for storm water management. During the meeting, Klingner and Associates representatives viewed photos and took notes from citizens about concerns in their neighborhoods, and they presented a citywide plan to mitigate the issues.

One of the proposed tax measures is a 1/4-cent capitol improvement sales tax, which Graham said would join an existing voter-approved 1999 1/4-cent capitol improvement sales tax used to fund road resurfacing. The other 1/4-cent sales tax proposal would be set aside for transportation projects. Graham said that replacements for Main Street’s sidewalks were also a high priority, along with replacing 100-year old utility lines beneath Main and other streets in town.

If both of the tax measures are approved by voters, the city would focus on solving storm water issues first. Graham said that a 1/2 cent-sales tax generates about $225,000 each year. He said the city would make sure that the funds built up to an acceptable level, then begin using money for the storm water project — the same way the Street Department receives funding for resurfacing streets each year.

Graham said he feels hopeful that Palmyra voters would support the measures to help take care of storm water issues and other projects when they go to the polls in April.

“We hope the voters will support us, and know that we have projects that need to be done and we need funding to do them,” he said.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com