Green Park officials discuss 10-year plan for city streets

Hoehn says businesses need to pay their share for streets

By Mike Anthony

Green Park officials discussed a 10-year master plan for city streets during a recent Board of Aldermen work session.

City Engineer Derrick Madej formulated the proposed strategic street replacement plan that covers 2014 through 2024.

From 1998 through 2013, all of the city’s subdivision streets were reconstructed, while overlays were done on Mueller Road and Lindbergh Business Court, according to information Madej presented to Mayor Bob Reinagel and aldermen.

“… What we’re going to do eventually is go into a selective slab replacement program, and you’ve probably seen that in municipalities where you go in and just take out the slabs that are deteriorating, cracked, unstable, and replace just that slab rather than entire street replacement …,” Madej said.

Noting the street replacement program started in 1998 with Juniper Court, Madej said, “… Over the years, we’ve done all of the subdivision streets, finishing with Kohrs and Patsy. For the next phase, the next 10-year plan, I came up with a rating plan for the remaining streets and the costs.

“And our goal is to stay within around a $400,000 program per year — max — which will be for the city budget.”

The city’s half-cent, capital-improvements sales tax, which was approved by voters in November 2001, generates roughly $400,000 per year.

“… As we get toward the end of the 10-year cycle, we’re getting back into the newer subdivisions …,” Madej said, beginning with Southtowne Farms and continuing with the Villages of Green Park and Cedarberry Parke.

Madej and Reinagel noted the plan could be adjusted, if necessary, over time. For 2014, Madej proposed reconstructing Lin Valle Drive and the sidewalks on Mueller Road at an estimated cost of $404,000.

In 2012, the city completed work on reconstructing a roughly 6,000-foot stretch of Green Park Road from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive. In 2011, construction of a new bridge on Green Park Road over Gravois Creek was completed.

However, work remains to be done on the remainder of Green Park Road, a project Madej proposed be done in two phases in 2018 and 2019. However, city officials indicated at the work session that they would like to move up the rest of the work on Green Park Road.

“I think a couple of good things have come up out of this so far, that we need to take a good look at moving Green Park (Road) up because it would give us a little bit of breathing room in front of Lin Valle (Drive) and then move everything down just a little bit,” Reinagel said.

Madej said, “The only downfall that I see to anything like that would be if you do the interior subdivision streets first, then you get all the construction traffic on Old Green Park Road, rather than vice versa. So let’s say you’re doing Cedarberry. You’d want to do Cedarberry first and then put all that construction traffic on Green Park Road before you replace it …”

Reinagel said, “Well, we’ve got Southtowne Farms and Cedarberry pretty much at the end of this anyway … I don’t know that that would be an issue or not.”

City Administrator/City Clerk Zella Pope said overlay work is planned for Old Green Park Road for this summer.

Madej recommended doing the work on Lin Valle Drive, the Mueller Road sidewalks and Old Green Park Road this year.

Next year, city officials could consider the Green Park Road project.

Regarding Lin Valle Drive, board President Fred Baras of Ward 3 later asked, “Are you going to widen it?”

Madej said, “That’s just replacement.”

Widening Lin Valle would require redoing driveways, possibly adding a retaining wall because of the slope and acquiring additional rights of way.

Citing the planned work on Old Green Park Road this year, Reinagel later said, “… If we would do Lin Valle this year, then we could put Green Park Road in next year … I’m looking around and I’m seeing that everybody kind of agrees with that. If you don’t, now’s the time to say it, folks.

“This is a group decision. I’m just trying to facilitate a little bit. Derrick, it sounds like you’ve got your direction …”

During a period for public comment at the December Board of Aldermen meeting, resident Fred Hoehn raised the issue of having businesses “pay their share of road usage and replacement. That needs to be addressed here.

“They are using the roads just like everybody else and you cannot put that on the back of the citizens, and it should not be resolved with a $25 merchant’s license. It has to be done equitably. It should not be done to hurt the businesses, but they should realize that they are getting service, and they’re not paying for it …”

Hoehn, who led the effort to incorporate the city, is a former Ward 2 alderman.

At the February work session, Reinagel addressed Hoehn’s remarks.

“… The residents don’t pay. People who purchase stuff in Green Park pay for our streets (through) the capital-improvements tax … That’s where we come up with that $400,000-$410,000 we budget each year …

“If anyone has any thoughts about the businesses paying for the streets, I’d like to hear them right now, and, if not, we’re going to continue just the way we’re doing it so far because the businesses are contributing in other ways. And no one really has a direct tax here in the city of Green Park with the streets. We’re using that capital-improvement fund, and we’re making it work …,” Reinagel said.

The mayor asked City Attorney Paul Rost if he wanted to comment.

“… The main thing you have to remember is the city of Green Park does not levy an ad valorem tax — not on personal property, not on real property. And since you don’t, your residents are not — there’s no money that they’re paying into the general fund that’s then going to replace streets …,” Rost said.

The city’s funding comes from a variety of sales taxes, franchise fees and utility taxes, he said.

“… So all your businesses in town are paying just like the residents, those utility taxes … A lot of them, especially on the capital improvements, are the reason that you have the ability to have a capital-improvements tax. Without them, you could impose a capital-improvements tax, but if you don’t have your retail sales, you’ve got nothing other than if you’re in the (county sales-tax) pool.

“… The point is, in ways they are also contributing to the income of the city, and they are also buying things in the city, not just selling … There’s been statements that they need to pay their fair share. I would just say: Pay attention and read up on it and study it and see whether maybe they are or aren’t … Maybe it’s a perception that isn’t necessarily — the facts don’t necessarily bear it out …,” the city attorney said.

Rost later added, “… I think that’s always something to be looked at is to make sure there’s equality and equity in how we treat our residents and our businesses …”