Lee’s Summit City Council to consider bonds for U.S. 50 and Missouri 291 interchange

rpulley@lsjournal.comNovember 6, 2013 

  • $10

    Dollars, in millions, it is estimated to cost for the interchange improvements

The Lee’s Summit City Council this week will consider putting a $10 million bond issue on the ballot to rebuild the intersection of U.S. 50 and Missouri 291 South.

The issue is on the council’s Nov. 7 agenda. The earliest election date would be in April.

The U.S. 50 project is competing with other problems for financing, such as fixing neighborhood storm water flooding.

According to a city staff memo, the U.S. 50 project could use up the remaining general bond capacity to improve infrastructure without a tax increase.

“I’d think consideration of this will rise pretty high, because it’s such a bottleneck,” Mayor Randy Rhoads said of the highway improvements. “It’s going to be an interesting conversation.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation wanted to rebuild the Jefferson Street Bridge overpass at the intersection. At urging from city officials, MoDOT came up with a conceptual plan for also adding other improvements for an interchange to help reduce congestion the city says is a drag on redevelopment.

Several major companies have left that corridor in the past decade – Pfizer, Calmar and Adesa auto auction – and their former sites are vacant.

The plan is for the city to pay for half of about the $10 million cost, with MoDOT paying the rest, if the city is approved for a cost-sharing program.

City staff is proposing to use general obligation bonds for the city share, because alternatives, such as tax-increment financing or improvement districts where property owners would pay for the improvements with a special assessment don’t seem feasible.

That area doesn’t have many businesses that would generate sales tax to repay bonds. Using property-tax assessments would require creating a district reaching from U.S. 50 to Missouri 150 and include more than 200 parcels with a 17-percent increase on property tax assessments for $5 million, over 20 years, or a 29-percent increase for the $10 million bond issue.

Other sources, such as capital improvements and road sales taxes, are already committed toward other projects.

While the city would ask for authority to issue $10 million in bonds, if cost sharing is approved by MoDOT it would only issue $5 million.

Other items on the Nov. 7 agenda include:

A report from Hollis+Miller architects on concept plans for renovating the WPA Post Office for the Lee’s Summit Historical Society’s museum, for council approval

An agreement between the city parks department and the Lee’s Summit R-7 school district for cooperating if there is a shooting incident.

The parks department and school district, as part of preparing for possible intruder incidents, developed an evacuation plan for Legacy Park Community Center where people would go to the adjacent Great Beginnings Early Childhood Center for sheltering and reunification. If the school facility has an incident people would be evacuated to the community center.

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