LSL board gives first reading to capital improvements sales tax
By: Michael R. Smith
As expected the Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen at their March 4 meeting gave a first reading to a proposed capital improvements sales tax scheduled for voters to decide on the Aug. 7 ballot. The board is expected to give a second reading and vote on the matter at its March 18 meeting.
Proposition P, as the measure is being tentatively called, would add a half-cent sales tax to retail goods sold in Lake Saint Louis. The current Lake Saint Louis sales tax is 1.5-percent. The addition would bring the city’s sales tax to equal what O’Fallon and St. Peters have.
The new tax would generate approximately $1.3 million a year and would be used for improving the city’s roads and parks. It would expire after 10 years unless voters renewed decided to extend it. If approved the tax would go into effect next March, said City Administrator Paul Markworth.
If approved, $900,000 a year from the tax would go toward road improvements and $400,000 would be slated for improving the city’s four parks.
Markworth said city-issued bonds in 2006 that were used for road improvements “have been exhausted” and that “it would take $1.6 million to maintain the roads in the condition they are now.”
“Currently the city has the ability to fund street maintenance projects at $700,000 per year,” Markworth said. That funding level means LSL can replace its asphalt streets every 37 years, the concrete ones every 54 years.
Markworth said the new funds would allow the city to replace its roads “much closer to our target maintenance cycle.” The recommended replacement period is every 15 years for asphalt roads, and every 30 years for concrete drives.
When LSL had more residential building going on fees paid by developers helped maintain the city’s parks. As new home building has decreased so have the funds for parks projects.
One park project being discussed is replacement of the aging Founders Parks lights, which originally came from the old Sportsman’s Park when the Cardinals and Browns played there. “They’ve been there for a while,” Markworth said.
One estimate for replacement was $500,000, but Markworth said, “We think we can get them done for less than that.”
Other improvements to parks would include restroom upgrades and new trail construction.